Monday, January 25, 2010

Disappointing Milestone for Massachusetts

An article in today’s Boston Globe paints the gloomy economic forecast of the Bay State saying that “In the decade from 1999 through 2009, average employment in the state fell by 55,000 jobs, or nearly 2 percent.” Andrew Sum, director of Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies sums it up pretty well, telling the Boston Globe “This was the lost decade. No job growth, no wage growth. It was a total wipeout.’’

While a certain level of national ripple effect from the last two recessions was expected, it’s frustrating that more has not been done on a state level to stimulate the economy and generate job growth. Later this week, the House will be taking up a bill geared towards having better nutrition in our schools, an admirable piece of legislation but certainly not the issue we should be focusing on at this junction. Last month, 8,400 more jobs were lost, bringing the state’s unemployment rate back up to 9.4%. The many problems facing our economy, specifically the lack of good paying jobs, is not going to disappear overnight. It’s going to take the hard work of the Legislature and the Patrick Administration to return Massachusetts to a prosperous state. Unfortunately, Governor Patrick has been consistently several steps behind where he should be all along the way during this economic crisis. In fact, it was ironic that the Globe pointed out that the recession we’re in began in March of 20008 because the way Governor Patrick and the other Democrats on Beacon Hill were spending, you would have thought the Bay State had just hit the Mega Millions or should we say billions!

As the Legislature was passing the FY09 budget and the Governor was signing it into law, we in the Republican Caucus were warning that it was an irresponsible and unsustainable budget. Sure enough, only a few short months later, Governor Patrick was taking out the 9C pen at the expense of cities and towns all across the state.

The other night while delivering his State of the Commonwealth Address, Governor Patrick said all three budgets during his tenure have been responsible, balanced and on time. Well, on time is true – not that it matters when they’re irresponsible and out of balance! Later this week, Governor Patrick will deliver his fourth and hopefully last budget. We can only hope that since it’s an election year, he’ll try to deliver not just an on time budget, but one that is actually responsible and balanced!