Two weeks ago, after 10 minutes of debate, the House of Representatives passed another massive, $200 million bond bill just to pay for annual transportation operating expenses. This action demonstrates the ease with which extraordinary indebtedness and overspending—pervasive on Beacon Hill—creates structural deficits that fracture our economic recovery. I offer warnings and solutions to this business as usual.
First, the state must learn to fund critical services, such as basic transportation projects, in our annual operating budget. For too long, the regular budget has been a special interest giveaway, and basic services are placed before the legislature as individual bills or bond sales at a future date, making it seem politically unpalatable to vote against them, even if we cannot afford it. Instead, we must support core services as top priorities in the state budget and limit borrowing to long-term infrastructure projects.
Second, brazen spending contributes to our growing, unsustainable debt load. This includes billions in unfunded liabilities and unresolved MBTA and Big Dig debt, making inevitable federal spending cuts even more painful. Just because we can borrow, doesn't mean we should.
Third, continued heavy borrowing and spending increases unpredictability for the private-sector, suggesting the state will eventually tax and regulate more to feed higher spending. We should all be alarmed that the commonwealth's debt service is 11% of state tax receipts, about $2.5 billion, giving us one of the highest debt-per-capita ratios in the nation. This also wastes critical funds needed for infrastructure or local aid.
Massachusetts has many competitive advantages, but state government undermines our people by increasing taxes and government debt. These policies threaten the economic liberty of individuals and industry, as demonstrated by California and Illinois' failure to exercise fiscal restraint. If elected your state senator, I will continue fighting for fiscal sanity as the antidote to the tax and spend culture on Beacon Hill.
58 High St., Andover
17th Essex District
Andover, Lawrence, Tewksbury