Five Pieces of Pork In the Massachusetts American Rescue Plan Spending Package

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Massachusetts is going to needlessly burn through a lot of money soon.

Back in February, President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan into law. Part of that stimulus package gave money to states, including states like Massachusetts that have a surplus of money. 

About $8.7 billion in American Rescue Plan funding went to Massachusetts, with the state government itself getting $5.3 billion. Now, Massachusetts has an American Rescue Plan spending bill (H.4269) worth nearly $4 billion that just needs Governor Charlie Baker’s signature to become law.

It’s a bill that funds many local pet projects and is loaded with waste. Here are five examples:


1.  Elizabeth Freeman Monument

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts needed money so badly that the federal government had to spend $1.9 trillion so that the state could turn around and spend that money on … monuments.

State representative Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox) secured $75,000 in funding “for the construction of a monument dedicated to Elizabeth ‘Mum Bett’ Freeman in the Town of Sheffield.”

Freeman was the first enslaved black American in Massachusetts to file and win a freedom suit. That’s great, but how is it the state and federal government’s role to fund this statue? People in Sheffield (south of Great Barrington, east of the town of Mount Washington, for those of you from east of Berkshire County) can pool their money together and buy a plot of land to put down a statue if they want one. 

Like all of the other funding on this list, this money could have gone to funding roads, clean drinking water, or first responders. And yet, it will go to a monument.


2. NAACP Funding

This American Rescue Plan Act spending package will give $200,000 to the left-wing National Association for the Advancement of Colored People thanks to state representative Russell Holmes (D-Mattapan). 

The NAACP urged pro athletes not to sign with Texas teams over the state’s heartbeat abortion ban earlier this year; that alone should disqualify the organization from receiving one cent from the government. Beyond that, a group that advocates on behalf of one racial group shouldn’t get money from the government because it’s excluding everyone else. 

Does the black community disproportionately face problems that need addressing? Of course. However, given that one of those issues is people being killed before they’re born, this isn’t the best organization to solve those problems. Those black lives should matter, too.


3.  The Racial Equity and Justice Institute

Thanks to state representative Liz Miranda (D-Roxbury), the bill includes $100,000 for the Racial Equity and Justice Institute at Bridgewater State University. That money will fund “the expansion of dissemination of handbooks, and expand programming to higher educational institutions in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

The diversity, equity, and inclusion industry in higher education is a racket. It creates useless administrative positions for liberals who put their personal pronouns in their email signatures and drives up the cost of higher education. If we want to have affordable higher education in this state, cutting bloat will need to happen at some point — not increasing spending on it.

It’s also interesting that Miranda wanted to fund this instead of something that’s, you know, in her district.


4.  Football Field

There is a rich bipartisan history of politicians wasting taxpayers’ money, and this bill is no different. That includes state Representative Brad Jones (R-North Reading), the House minority leader, who must think it’s the job of the federal government to fund new turf at high school football fields.

He used his leadership position to get a lot of money in one provision for his district:  $500,000 to replace the already-existing turf at Arthur J. Kenney Field at 191 Park Street in North Reading.

It’s not ridiculous that the town would replace the turf, but why should money from the federal government go to it? Aren’t there any other more pressing needs in town? Or does the town not really need the money? 

This appropriation is not mitigating the spread of the virus, helping local businesses or workers, or funding something that the town would have no other way of funding. Therefore, it is a waste.

There’s also some irony to this one given that Jones supports banning youth tackle football in the Commonwealth. 


5. Celebrating Gloucester

When President Joe Biden signed this $1.9 trillion spending package into law, surely this was exactly what he had in mind for states to do with their funding.

State Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester) got $175,000 into the bill to help cover the cost of the 400th anniversary celebration of Gloucester in 2023.

Now, Gloucester is a beautiful, historic, interesting, and vibrant place. It’s older than Boston, and it’s the setting for both the country’s oldest fishing fleet and the moving Fisherman’s Memorial that commemorates more than 5,300 Gloucester fishermen who have died while fishing. The view of the rockbound coast on Atlantic Road and the twin lighthouses on Thacher Island in the distance is spectacular. If you haven’t been there in a while, you should go.

But does Gloucester need the federal or state government’s help to celebrate itself?

The state and federal governments shouldn’t exhaust capital on this event, which can be funded locally or privately — or both.

Couldn’t the money be used to build a monument to Joe Biden instead?


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