Monday, October 19, 2009

If Only the Governor had been Proactive!

There’s been a lot of talk about what exactly led to the economic crisis here in the Commonwealth. While the downturn in the global economy is certainly having an effect on Massachusetts’ economy, one of the greatest contributors is the lack of preparedness by Governor Patrick and his administration.

The Salem News ran an article over the weekend called “Patrick asks Unions for Concessions to Help Close Deficit.” The article focuses on a former Department of Social Services employee who was laid off last month after 20 years of service. Michael Bonbon was a member of the Service Employee International Union, even serving as a steward. Bonbon told the newspaper that last spring he encouraged his union to make concessions because of the impending recession. That advice was ignored however, and instead the union fought for pay raises and new contracts. The Salem News quoted him as saying, “I told everybody I don’t need a new contract because of the way the economy is, let’s leave it as it is…All I want is for everybody to keep their jobs…But the union didn’t want that.”

This person’s story could not underscore our argument any better. The Democrats on Beacon Hill need to learn from Mr. Bonbon. Being proactive is far better than being forced to react. However, because Beacon Hill Democrats led by Governor Patrick failed to take the necessary steps in preparing a responsible FY09 budget, we are seeing the consequences in dealing with the already out of balance FY10 budget.

As you are well aware, the FY10 budget is now $600 million off and just last week Governor Patrick said drastic cuts are coming to essential services and it is possible that 2,000 jobs could be eliminated. The question is did it have to come to this? We say no. The state needs to be better prepared to deal with the unexpected. However, this recession was indeed expected and yet Governor Patrick and the tax and spend Democrats still couldn’t plan for the worst.

Michael Bonbon urged his union to prepare for the worst and they ignored him. He and many more like him are now out of work. We in the Republican Caucus urged our colleagues to prepare for the worst and like Bonbon, we were ignored.

You can connect the dots!