If you are a conservative in Massachusetts there isn’t a lot to cheer about this morning.
Yes Charlie Baker has won the corner office which means that Big Government in Massachusetts will be run by an honest man who is a competent manager, that’s an improvement.
However he had all the coattails of a streaker at a football game which isn’t the way to build a party, of course considering how little we heard of other GOP candidates one might conclude the state party’s concern was winning all the patronage of the appointed positions by the governor without electing any of those icky conservatives to office who might rock the boat.
There were two bright spots in the evening.
Ballot Question 2 which would have expanded the bottle bill went down to a crushing defeat, while ballot Question #1 passed 53-47 removing the onerous Gas tax linked to inflation allowing taxes to go up without a vote (A hearty well done to all involved particularly Marty Lamb there).
It is that result, combined with Democrats sweep at the state house and the left’s victory on Question 4 which mandates businesses provide earned sick leave for employers that really explains the mindset of voter in Massachusetts. It’s about what is in front of their faces & nothing else.
If Question two, the bottle bill expansion passed every person would have to pay that extra nickel (to start) whenever they purchased a non carbonated drink and to get that nickel back they would have to carry that bottle to a redemption center. It would affect people across party and class and racial lines which is why it lost by almost a million votes out of 2.1 million cast. 73-27%
Question one had even more dire consequences, a Gas tax linked to inflation would mean a regular tax increase every year forever. Every person & company who drives a car or truck and pays for gas was would be affected. Because there are a large amount of people who don’t drive and therefore didn’t see the effect on them (in the form of increased prices for good) the margin was smaller but enough of the general population still fills their tank weekly to allow the question to pass by 53-47% the margin being just under 120,000 votes.
But Question 4 Sick Pay law that passed by 18 points (59-41) was another story. Most voters didn’t understand what it means to supermarkets like Market Basket Restaurants like Singapore and even pizzeria’s like Espresso’s in fact all you might see if you are a bagger, a busboy or a pizza driver all you know is you’ve just got an hour of paid sicktime for every 30 hours you work up to a maximum of one paid 40 hour “sick” week a year. That’s likely why it passed by almost 400,000 votes.
Even when the supermarket inch up their prices the Restaurant cuts your hours and the pizza place decides not to hire the votes won’t make the connection that the cost of that effective 2-3% pay raise that you forced them to give is going to have to come from somewhere.
That disconnect from reality is why the same “highly educated” voters who repealed the onerous Gas tax can re-elect almost every single state senator and representative who voted to impose it upon them without batting an eyelash.
The folks at the statehouse will learn from that result and be smarter next time. They’ll make small gradual changes, and reach into your wallet more subtlety, not stealing over their weight or attracting attention.
They know if they do they’ll be all right, the votes who might notice and the business that employ them moved out of Massachusetts a very long time ago.
I’ll give Governor Baker a chance, but if he doesn’t attempt to build the party on the local or state level my advice to young people of talent when it comes to Massachusetts will remain the same.
Get out while there still isn’t an exit tax to do so.