Bakers New Fee for Police Training Unnecessary [OPINION]
Governor Charlie Baker will sign legislation to create a new fee on rental cars to pay for new police training. The new fee would generate an estimated $8-$10 million annually.
The request for additional training follows the deaths of several police officers in the line of duty over the last several years, including New Bedford native Sean Gannon in Yarmouth earlier this year.
The State House News Service says Baker told reporters on Monday that he would have preferred to fund the new training with surplus budget funds:
"We made a series of proposals that would have funded the same $8 million for the Municipal Police Training Council without raising any fees or putting any new structures in place, but the Legislature pursued this particular path and coming on the heels of the loss of three officers over the course of the past 18 months, the chiefs and many of the folks in the law enforcement community made very clear to us that this was a very high priority for them and they really wanted to see this happen."
For a guy who vowed not to raise taxes and fees, Baker seems to have a short memory, or just can't say no to new taxes and fees. The State House News Service reports Baker has already "signed into law new assessments on the healthcare industry and proposed taxes on short-term rentals that operate like hotels, which he considers a tax on a new industry and not an increase in an existing tax."
It is hard to deny funding for additional training for a job that seems to get more dangerous and thankless by the day. But when surplus money is already available, why do we need to establish new fees? It doesn't make sense.
I keep waiting for Charlie Baker to stand up to the leadership, but he gives in every time. The man must have some principles.
I guess it's easier to be outraged by everything Donald Trump does than anything the Massachusetts Legislature does.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.