^ State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr introduces “Republican Alternative” Transpo Bill

Our Republican legislators would have you believe that Massachusetts’s new “transpo” tax just enacted into law is an outrage upon our wallets. It isn’t.

As a friend of ours posted this on his Facebook page today : “I did some math after hearing all the chatter about the 3 cent per gallon increase in the gas tax. My daily commute is about 52 miles, round trip. Based on 20 gallons of gas per week, my personal tax increase is 60 cents a week or $31.20 per year. Hardly enough to even notice, let alone impact the economy. Besides, I’ll happily pay an extra $31 to avoid potholes and falling bridges.”

More even than our friend, we go everywhere by car. It’s what you do when you’re a journalist. Probably I’ll do about 400 miles a week. My gas receipts total about 150.00 a week — almost 50 gallons. The tax ? $ 1.50 a week = $ 78.00 a year. That’s less than I spend on ice cream or on the Lottery. And yes, my travel expenses are paid for : but as I am an owner of Here and Sphere, the money still comes from me.

Sure, we already pay a gasoline tax and other state taxes besides. But the new gas tax, which is earmarked for road and bridge repair and for repairs and improvements to our public transit rail system, benefits all of us. Roads and bridges are not free, and those who depend on public transit to get to their jobs — or just to get around — would cost the rest of us a lot more if they had no public transit and thus could not work. Thus the taxes that we have enacted will positively impact the economic life of our state — in a big, big way.

What is the Republican alternative ? Just this : 1. no new transpo tax at all. 2. pay for the needed transpo upgrades and repairs by repealing the “Pacheco Law.”

Sounds good — but it isn’t.

The Pacheco Law guarantees that construction workers will be paid the prevailing wage paid on construction projects receiving Federal funds. The prevailing wage is a union-bargained, contractually agreed wage that we in Massachusetts have imported into our own, state-funded construction projects. The Pacheco wage is a high one, much higher than a non-union contractor would likely pay, given that Massachusetts construction projects are subject to a public, low-bid process.

By seeking repeal of the Pacheco Law, the GOP means to reduce the income of construction workers.

I can’t think of a more damaging economic policy than to lower the pay of people who work and consume. Well paid construction workers don’t hide their pay checks in mattresses; they spend it — big time.

Many Massachusetts people are down on construction workers because of the huge cost overruns and occasionally poor workmanship during the “Big Dig” in Boston. As poorly managed as the “Big Dig” expressway project was, it put huge amounts of money, over many years, into the wallets of thousands of construction workers, whose spending boosted our economy in all sorts of ways : houses, boats, second homes, big new trucks, tool purchases, vacations, clothes, home remodelings, and more.

The GOP’s plan would set back the state’s economy. Taking money out of the hands of workers, it takes money out of the business these workers spend at. It is bad policy, and demagogue-ing the “forever” gas tax as they are doing — calling now for a repeal referendum — only adds ignorance to injury.

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere



^ no resumes, please ! just bring your baad self

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We at Here and Sphere will very likely be adding some core staff in August. That’s right : Here and Sphere is becoming a “job creator.” Who’d have thunk it ?

We welcome the hiring of staff. In the media world, staff come aboard with excitement, imagination, creativity, dedication. Motivation is never an issue, nor loyalty. Turnover doesn’t stop the presses.

That said, there’s one part of the hiring game that we do NOT like at all : resumes.

Resumes don’t fit well with the media rhythm. We’re about what you HAVEN’T done; what you HAVE done is…done, finished, over. We’re an adventure, not a re-run.

Sure we’d like to know where you went to school, what you studied, where you’re from, and did you graduate with honors. What jobs you’ve held since, however, matter little; the big thing is, can you WRITE ? Do you have a throat for a good story ? Do you think for yourself and outside the box ? Show us your clips.

Please do not spend money having a professional resume writer write one on you. We won’t read it. If we do read it, it’ll be for the curiosity simply.

Our disdain for resumes lost all civility when we surfed the site LINKED-IN. It’s supposed to be a connection arena for people at work. Unhappily almost every LINKED IN profile we have scanned reads “resume here!” Boring, boring. So depressing, indeed, that at our own LINKED IN profile we just had to write the following blurb :

“Yes, I have experience. So does my dog. Even my car has experience. I prefer to adventure upon that in which I have No experience — my mind can do this, my fingers can type it, my legs can chase it.

“In short, this is not a resume but the beginning of what someday will become one. A memento.

“A resume is like perfume — it makes you smell nice. By the time that you smell nice, however, you’ve already DONE what you began to do when you smelled like — skin.”

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere


Updated 7:12 P.m. EDT 08.01.13