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Op-Eds

Real pension reforms would create savings

In the article, “Municipal pensions: employee benefit; taxpayer burden” (Telegram & Gazette, July 7), Joseph Durant, co-chairman of Working Massachusetts, a coalition of public employee unions, expresses relief that there’s “no concerted attack on public employee pensions here as in other states,” remarking, “We’ve taken the high road … through two rounds of pension reform.”

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How to Boost Jobs in Worcester

Should the city require that local labor be used on major construction projects? This question was raised in a Telegram & Gazette article in October about the new St. Vincent Hospital cancer center and during the debate leading up to last month’s municipal elections, with several candidates pledging to push for jobs for city residents.

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Facts on per-pupil spending

Now that Worcester’s elections are over, citizens can engage in a serious discussion about one of the issues raised by both School Committee and City Council candidates: the adequacy of funding for the Worcester Public Schools. Let’s start with some important facts.

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Casinos: A bad bet for Mass.

With Wednesday’s vote by the House, the Legislature is on track to establish casino gambling in the commonwealth. This bill calls for three Las Vegas-style resort casinos and one slots parlor. Passage seems certain, where other gambling bills proposed since 2007 all failed.

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Time for real pension reform

IN JANUARY, GOV. Deval Patrick filed a pension reform proposal that could save $5 billion over 30 years, through measures such as raising the retirement age and basing pension payments on an employee’s five highest years of salary, instead of the current three.

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An unsustainable course

The teachers union in Worcester is the largest public employee union in the city, as it is in most other municipalities. The EAW represents about 1,900 teachers, close to half of all municipal employees. The union and school committee are currently negotiating over two main issues: teacher salaries and health insurance. Together, these two line items constitute close to 60 percent of the school department’s budget.

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Massachusetts Needs to Embrace School Choice

On Martin Luther King Jr. day, Gov. Deval Patrick signed into law a bill that has been hailed as the most significant step in education reform the state has taken since 1993’s comprehensive Education Reform Act.

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The Case for a Single Tax Rate

Each year, on the third Tuesday of November, the Worcester City Council goes through
the ritual of setting the tax rate for the fiscal year that began on the previous July 1.

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The devil’s in the details

At a time of fiscal crisis, Massachusetts communities are failing to take advantage of an opportunity for savings by using civilian flaggers instead of off-duty police officers to direct traffic and guard road construction and utility projects. There are a couple of reasons for this.

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