More fat than red meat on Bacon Hill
You don’t have to worry about your job or your business. Bacon Hill has come to the rescue. During the final hours of the 2020 session, they have passed an economic bill.
No, the legislation doesn’t override Governor Charlie Parker’s business closures or orders limiting the capacity in retail stores and restaurants. There is no relief from the endless costly regulations or high taxes. It is what they think should be considered economic aid.
Of course, Bacon Hill believes the best way to revive the economy is by spending our tax dollars. Before the bill was secretly negotiated for months, the price tag was a mere $450 million. What’s their idea of a compromise? It is not reducing cost. The price tag is now $626.5 million.
So, what are we getting?
Sports betting did not make the cut. Hence, the Commonwealth will continue to send that industry, money and bettors to other states.
There is $14 million for tourism. Why would the Commonwealth spend one dime on tourism? Is this money supposed to counter the blinking highway signs saying you have to quarantine for 2 weeks if you are from out of state? We don’t need to spend tax dollars on tourism. We need to open the state.
Another $6 million will support artists and local museums. Once again, we don’t need to spend these funds. A true economic bill would reopen the state so people will go back to museums.
Critical to reviving the economy, the bill includes a “Student Loan Bill of Rights.” This will surely grow jobs—not.
The big ticket items include $50 million for housing, $52 million for science and technology research, and a doubling of the low-income housing tax credit.
Bacon Hill did include $30 million for loans similar to the PPP. However, if you remember from news reports last month the majority of the state’s programs went to minority and women owned businesses.
The legislature should have focused repealing and eliminating regulations and laws that put our state at a competitive disadvantage with other states, rather than just throwing around money. For example, the day before the legislature passed the so-called economic package, they passed a net-zero greenhouse gas bill which will significantly increase the cost of doing business in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts already has the highest utility costs in the nation.
Before the pandemic hit, the Commonwealth outlawed menthol cigarettes. Ever since, the state has been losing $10 million per month in revenue. People have not stopped smoking. They now shop in Rhode Island and New Hampshire hurting our local convenience stores that need the revenue.
If Bacon Hill really wanted to help the economy and our local businesses, they would roll back the sales tax to 5% so the people would have less of a reason to shop in New Hampshire. They could also pass a meals tax holiday to get people back out to our restaurants that are struggling to survive. I guess we should be pleased they did not include a tax hike to pay for this flop of an economic bill. Although, I am sure that will happen next.