Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Haven't spoken about Massachussets recently. Last night our new Governor came up with a big time State of the State address. He proposed 2 billion in cuts. He wants to privatize the UMASS school system and cut the subsidized health care for State workers among some other big changes. It is going to be a fight and I hope he wins.

In the close-to-level-funded spending plan he will unveil today, Romney will propose a near-complete elimination of civil service protections for state and municipal employees and call for revamping the Pacheco Law, the union-backed measure that has effectively ended efforts to economize by privatizing or ''outsourcing'' state services.

He will also call for a package of public-sector management reforms, including the removal of all state lawyers and some 14,500 supervisors from union membership and the elimination of bumping rights, which allow employees with seniority to claim the jobs of more junior employees when their own positions are eliminated.

Romney will also suggest an overhaul of the state pension system, the point of which will be to begin to move from a traditional pension to a defined contribution arrangement like a 401(k).
And the governor will once again ask the Legislature to consider requiring state employees to pay 25 percent, rather than 15 percent, of their health care costs.

''For the taxpayers to win, politics as usual has to lose,'' Romney said. ''This is the time to make the choice. Do we want to have sweetheart deals for state employees and continuing growth of government and rising taxes every year, or do we want to opt for streamlined, scaled-back government and a flat tax burden and, by the way, therefore, more employers finding this a great place to come?''

''I think it is unfair for state employees to feel that we should get a better deal on pensions, on health care, and on work rules than exist in the surrounding marketplace,'' he said.

< email | 2/26/2003 12:13:00 PM | link

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