Five Pieces of Pork In the Massachusetts House’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget

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Massachusetts isn’t the most fiscally prudent state in the country.

The Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously approved a $47.7 billion budget for fiscal year 2022 earlier this week — and it contained well over 1,000 amendments. Some of those were pieces of pork the state could do without.

Here is a look at five of the worst pieces of pork in the House budget:


1. Social Justice Basketball 

We cannot deny that the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame is important to the tourism economy of Springfield, Massachusetts. However, Budget Amendment 779 is exactly what’s wrong with sports. It provides the Hall of Fame with $300,000 “to provide a partnership between the Basketball Hall of Fame and Springfield College by creating a new podcast series, Liberty, Justice and Ball, which will explore the intersection of basketball and social justice.”

Absolute garbage from state Representative Brian Ashe (D-Longmeadow). It’s bad enough that such a podcast would exist in the first place, but what’s even worse is that we will pay for it.


2. Old Lowell Spinners Stadium

The Lowell Spinners don’t exist. LeLacheur Park only hosts the UMass-Lowell baseball team and they’re not a revenue sport, like all other sports at the school. Time and time again, studies show that taxpayer-funded stadiums have a poor return on investment.

However, that didn’t stop state Representative Thomas Golden (D-Lowell) from filing Budget Amendment 931 to provide “not less than $200,000 shall be expended for the Edward A. LeLacheur Park in the city of Lowell for ongoing maintenance and new investments that include updates to and improvements for the concourse, seating areas and the office/shop.”

It’s not like the stadium will host a new minor league team anytime soon, either. Major League Baseball cut its minor leagues by 40 teams last year, diminishing the prospects that this stadium receives any good use in the future.


3. Italian Cultural Center of Western Massachusetts

Once again, we’re paying to promote Italian culture. Budget Amendment 963 filed by state Representative Carlos Gonzalez gives the Italian Cultural Center of Western Massachusetts $20,000.

This organization says that it wants to preserve Italian culture, traditions, heritage, and the Italian language. It sponsors “social, culinary and educational events to foster appreciation and respect in the community for the rich contributions that Italians have made locally and throughout the world.”

Here is the list of activities the organization puts on:

  • Italian Movie Nights
  • Italian Cultural Lecture Series
  • Delicious Italian Dinner Events
  • Italian Cooking Classes
  • Adult Italian Language Classes
  • Bus Trips
  • Raffles
  • Game Nights
  • A Celebration of our Italian Heritage with a Flag-Raising Ceremony
  • And much more

Italians should celebrate Italian culture. But why should everybody pay for it?

In particular, there is no reason why Massachusetts tax dollars should go to promoting the Italian language. Promote assimilation, not the kind of multiculturalism that reduces the social cohesion of a country.


4. Minority Grants

Are you white? Then no grant for you!

If you’re a minority, however, then you have a better shot at receiving a special grant for your non-profit organization. Budget Amendment 999 filed by state Representative Tackey Chan makes it so that the state’s Small Business Technical Assistance Grant Program will offer grants  to “non-profit community-based organizations, prioritizing minority led non-profit community-based organizations, for the purpose of providing technical assistance or training programs to businesses with not more than 10 employees.”

This grant program typically offers more than $2 million in grants per year. If they’re going to have it, perhaps don’t include a provision that allows for racial discrimination.


5. Marvin Hagler Statue 

Budget Amendment 1013 allots $200,000 for Brockton to build and maintain a statue of former middleweight champion boxer Marvin Hagler.

State Representative Gerard Cassidy (D-Brockton) and state Representative Michelle DuBois (D-Brockton) both supported the amendment.

While Hagler was a great fighter, it’s fiscally irresponsible to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a statue. Besides, that money could have gone to better use in the community — whether it’s feeding the homeless or providing low-income residents with school supplies.


Honorable Mention


Phone Silencing Seminar

This amendment isn’t bad because it won’t cost us taxpayers a cent, but it’s hilarious.

Amendment 218 says the following:

There shall be an annual training for members of the house of representatives on how to mute a phone during a teleconference. The subjects addressed in the training shall include, but not to be limited to, (a) recognizing the mute icon in a phone interface, (b) the speakerphone function, (c) how to push a button in a phone interface, (d) recognizing when the mute function of a phone is enabled and recognizing the appropriate circumstances to utilize the mute function of a phone.”

What we’d like to know is what events preceded this and how bad it must’ve been to warrant 19 co-sponsors to state Representative Smitty Pignatelli’s (D-Lenox) amendment.

All of which begs the question:

How many Massachusetts state legislators does it take to silence a cell phone?


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