Politics – So, Mike Ross, You REALLY Want to Keep College Grads in Boston?

OK. Since I’ve mocked you previously about your desire to put a clam shack on the Common, I might as well be a nice guy and offer some real solutions. But most of them are probably not something you can implement…or want to.

1) Stand up to Menino and the rest of the Boston political machine over their use of schools and students as whipping boys. There’s no excuse for unenforceable laws about student occupancy, or for Menino’s campaign to get local universities to spend money they don’t have on buildings they don’t want just so he can pretend he’s doing something about rents.

2) On the subject of housing, loosen the laws on landlords who are present and active in the state, thus allowing tenants to work with them, and tighten the laws on absentee landlords. There’s a lot of crappy housing in Boston, and it’s at bloated prices. Reward landlords that live in the area and can work with tenants by making their lives easier.

3) Campaign to fix Massachusetts’ health care system. Mr. Ross, I currently pay $210 a month for insurance that doesn’t cover a damn thing and that I don’t even want. If it were remotely feasible for me to move to New Hampshire or Rhode Island, I would do it tomorrow just to ditch this cost. That’s literally one-seventh of my monthly expenses, and the fact that it’s only going to go up makes me furious. Obligating people who owe a ton of money to buy a product they don’t want at a price they can’t afford is a great way to drive them away.

4) Have the city of Boston start breaking arms over funding the T. There is neither excuse nor justification for not raising the gas tax for more than a decade, especially when the refusal to do so comes from people who directly profit off the tax base they’re whining about giving any money to. I give the state quite a bit in taxes, and the T is the only state service I use with any regularity, I have to pay regularly to do so, and the state is…trying to cut services and whining about how it shouldn’t have to provide me with any transit except to and from my job, so I can keep giving them tax money. Would you stay in a state like that?

5) Campaign to make graudate student tuition tax deductible on the state level. Currently the state of Massachusetts punishes graduate students who pay out of their own pockets. On federal taxes, I can deduct the rather substantial amount I pay yearly, out of pocket, for graduate school. In Massachusetts, I can’t factor in this expense, which ranges from one-fifth to one-quarter of my income. As a result, I have to pay as if I had all of my income. I don’t, and quite frankly every year this gets more and more aggravating and tiresome, especially if it’s been a bad year. And I’m actually fairly well-off in this regard. Imagine how somebody who isn’t feels.

Like I said, I understand and respect that most, if not all, of the above are at least somewhat out of your control. Nor do I expect what you can do to be done quickly.

But the simple truth is: I live in a state that has repeatedly sent me the message that it does not want me to live here. I’d be nice to see, well, anything resembling forward action on fixing this.


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