There’s a quote from “Alice In Wonderland” where Alice says that sometimes she believes as many as six impossible things before breakfast. In that vein, I find that I can find at least one outrageous story out of Massachusetts before breakfast every day. And today, I scored a double.
After a few highly-publicized and especially nasty drunk-driving crashes, lawmakers in Massachusetts finally got the word and drafted a bill that toughened up the state’s drunk-driving laws. The measure, called “Melanie’s Bill” after a 13-year-old girl struck and killed by a drunk driver with a huge record of prior offenses, called for such measures as mandatory jail time for those caught driving after their license was suspended for DWI, child-endangerment charges for those who drive drunk with kids in the car, and the like.
But apparently drunk drivers have a better lobby than most people realize — several of those key measures have been stripped from the bill by a committee.
The measure is now going to the full House, where those provisions could be put back, but I ain’t holding my breath.
Another entry in the field of “if it’s a really stupid idea, it must be from Massachusetts” is a plan by gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick. He wants to institute universal health care, much like those lucky folks in Canada and England have, in Massachusetts. But he’s not one of those profligate spenders who passes all sorts of new programs, never thinking about where the money comes from. He’s got that worked out: he’s going to put a fifty-cent-a-pack tax on cigarettes, and the rest will come out of a new payroll tax.
Mr. Patrick apparently thinks that the fine citizens of Taxachusetts are woefully undertaxed already, and will just fall all over themselves to pay these new ones. It might have escaped his attention, but in the 2000 census, 49 states all showed an increase in population, and exactly one had fewer people than in 1990. People vote with their feet, Mr. Patrick, and a significant number of them decided that Massachusetts is just too damned expensive a place to live. (I oughta know; I meet Bay State refugees nearly every day up here in New Hampshire.) Taking more money from those still sticking around is NOT one of the brighter ideas.