Yesterday morning, Treasurer and Receiver General of the Commonwealth, Tim Cahill spoke to the Boston Chamber of Commerce. At the event Cahill released his
Equal Rights Amendment Economic Recovery Act or ERA plan. Heavily laden with Red Sox references the presentation used the 2004 Red Sox World Championship to highlight how Tim plans to get Massachusetts moving again.
Scott Lehigh of the Boston Globe labeled the plan tax year cotton candy
But when chamber President Paul Guzzi asked Cahill what his tax relief package would cost the state, the treasurer slipped the surly bonds of substance.
“I like to look at it as how much revenue can we gain,” said Cahill. Why, he added, “In 2003, our income tax was at . . . 5.6 percent. In 2007, it was at 5.3 percent. . . . We brought in more revenue in 2007 – income tax revenue – at 5.3 than we brought in at 5.6.”
There’s one small problem here: The state income tax rate was actually 5.3 percent in both years Cahill cited. What the stronger tax collections really reflects, of course, is an improved economy. In 2003, the US unemployment rate was 6 percent; in 2007, it was 4.6 percent. As things improved nationally, they did here as well.
A lot of the themes brought up by Lehigh in his column have been explored here at Red Mass Group.
The biggest story out of yesterday morning was that it seems as though the Treasurer paid for two tables at the reportedly sparsely attended event. According to the Associated Press’ Glen Johnson the Treasury and School building authority each bought a table at the event.
The treasurer was greeted by a relatively sparse audience for his Chamber remarks. Of the 15 tables in the room, two were bought by the Treasury and the state school building authority it runs. Two others were controlled by the Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America, which sponsors the government affairs forum.
A call to the Treasurers Press staff was answered yesterday, but a promised call back regarding whether or not public funds were used to purchase these tables was never made.
Beyond whether or not the tables were comped or paid for, is it really appropriate for about twenty government employees to attend what is for all intents and purposes a campaign event during the work day?