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Great Pension Resource

We did a paper last year detailing the cost of pension gaming to the Commonwealth.  The Herald has just put up a database of all the pension recipients and their yearly payouts.  Many old friends show up….

A Big Wet Kiss for Racinos

The Globe’s Stan Grossfeld plants exactly that in today’s Globe with a puff piece on Pennsylvania’s experience with racinos.  Unsurprisingly, a declining industry that receives a massive subsidy experiences a bit of resurgence, but the unasked question is why should we be subsidizing horse owners above any number of other worthy recipients.  Also conveniently absent is any reference to the massive profits that the former track owners made when they sold their facilities after purchasing below-market fixed price licenses. One of the details in the Patrick Administration’s casino plan that we were glad to see is the presence of a competitive bid process (as opposed to granting fixed-price licenses to racetracks, which was floated last year).  Check out our op-ed […]

Darwin Award Candidate

Yesterday’s Globe reports on charges filed against a Vermont man, who may need to ponder the consistency of his actions: “A Vermont man charged with helping convicted tax evaders Ed and Elaine Brown evade authorities left a trail of evidence showing his allegiance, authorities said yesterday. Robert Wolffe showed his devotion to the Browns and his wish for an armed showdown with authorities via blogs and e-mail, even e-mailing a manual on how to kill government officials to his wife at work, an employee in the Vermont division of the Federal Highway Administration, a prosecutor alleged.” [Emphasis added]

McKay is increasingly OK

Florida’s McKay scholarship program is increasingly a model to other states (but, no, not Massachusetts). The McKay program provides nearly 20,000 scholarships to Florida special-needs students to attend private scools, if that is the preference of their parents. In May Gov. Sonny Perdue of Georgia signed a similar bill into law. The state senate in Nevada, which is not especially known for educational experimentation, passed a bill calling for a McKay-style program earlier this year. On October 5, Pioneer is holding an event marking the release of a report on the use of tax credits and tax deductions to promote scholarships for students in failing schools or other select groups such as students who have special needs. Boston University School […]

Taxes and Tolls

As promised, today’s Mass Media headlines on the homepage will be devoted to toll hikes and gas taxes – yesterday’s were to casino gambling – and all of it – new tolls, taxes and pleasure palaces – in pursuit of revenue to cover the cost of road and bridge repair, local and state obligations to public employees and retirees, and with maybe a little something left over for property tax relief (or so the Governor hopes). I have no problem with the Governor and Legislature publicly discussing new sources of revenue to cover the cost of some pretty enormous liabilities staring us in the face. My problem is the exclusive focus on new revenues. There is a flip side to […]