Brown, baby, Brown

By EDITORIAL  |  February 25, 2010

Patrick should move away from his hard-line stance on local aid and work with the legislature to pass a local-aid resolution in March, specifying the amount of the coming reduction so that cities and towns can start planning their own budgets. Unfortunately, the legislature is too gutless to seriously address the state's structural budget problems — which will, at some point, require a fair, broad-based increase in revenues (translation: taxes).

Patrick has proven willing to take on serious, and obvious, cost issues. His Municipal Relief Act, for instance, would allow cities and towns to reduce health-care-premium costs by negotiating the design of their insurance plans — something currently enforced through collective bargaining. That would save Boston $1 million per month, according to the Massachusetts Municipal Association, which estimates total savings across the state of $75 to $100 million per year.

But municipal-employee unions don't like the idea, so the legislature removed that provision before advancing the bill on Tuesday. The bill is a joke without it — which makes it a perfect piece of legislation for our laughable state government. ^

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