Yesterday's Globe had the stunning news that Governor Patrick has changed his position on authorizing municipal leaders to unilaterally change their employees' health care plans.

Patrick had previously signed a bill allowing cities and towns to move employees to the state plan (GIC) but only if at least 70% of union employees agreed to the move. More recently he has stated he would approve reducing that percentage to 50%, which we believe would still be enough to block it in most cases.

Now, according to this article, "Patrick joined House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo in calling for a significant curtailing of organized labor’s influence over the health care plans of municipal employees, retirees, and elected officials, proposing that cities and towns receive far greater power to enact major changes without union assent." (bold added for emphasis)

WOW! It seems that this governor, who came into office with big plans for what he would spend money on but not a whole lot of details on where the money would come from, has finally seen the light in terms of the benefits of fiscal reform: i.e. that if you want to invest in X, it's way better to find the money to pay for it via reforms and efficiency rather than hitting up the taxpayer, especially when a bunch of them are out of work or have seen their hours slashed.

In fact this point was made even more clearly in this Globe editorial from the same day - the governor told local officials that he's cutting local aid, but they can get it back via savings in health care costs. This is what taxpayers want to see - reform before tax increases.

This Democrat may end up outshining any of the 4 previous Republican governors in his record of reform.


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