Over the past couple of weeks we’ve heard countless officials talk about the “fixed cost”, and “mandatory spending” problem we face as a Commonwealth. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We don’t have a problem of that magnitude, because under our constitutional system a crisis of that type cannot exist. What we have is a cowardice on the part of leaders to take on a rapidly spinning out of control model of government.
The Massachusetts constitution is clear. The legislature appropriates, each year, the spending of the Commonwealth and the Governor approves it. No where in the constitution does it say that we must outlay anything of a mandatory nature.
The “fixed costs” that Governor Patrick, and his administration carp about are statutory requirements of law. Laws which can be changed at any time, if our leaders had the courage to do so.
The growing ranks of Republican legislators on Beacon Hill would do well to remind the governor and his Democratic allies in the legislature of this fact as budget season progresses. It would show the public that the GOP is pushing for real change.
Continuing down the path we are on is not “mandatory”. It is cowardice on the part of those we elect to actually lead.