It's just money
December 9, 2003 9:58 AM   Subscribe

What's a bigger waste of taxpayer money: Throwing a concert in a tunnel for a public works project years late and over budget or putting on a New Year's fireworks display for TV cameras only?
posted by MediaMan (22 comments total)
That's why they call us "Taxachusetts," friends.
posted by serafinapekkala at 10:04 AM on December 9, 2003

Am I the only one that finds it kinda disturbing that London has fallen victim to the old "keeping up with the Joneses" attitude?
posted by MsVader at 10:19 AM on December 9, 2003

Well, to be fair, it's only $250k out of a $14B project - barely a rounding error. And, the $250k fee for the Boston Pops is being picked up by a local bank rather than being paid for by taxpayer money.

So, to answer the question, I'd say the fireworks show.
posted by warhol at 10:22 AM on December 9, 2003

How about spending for a Faith Based Missile Defense System? Can I use that one too?

Or single source contracts in Iraq? Should that count?

I know, subsidizing corporations who locate offshore to avoid paying their fair share of taxes while reporting record profits and unemployment continuing to drag us down?

Surely these are much bigger boondoggles than the measley coins spent on the silly s**t you mention.
posted by nofundy at 10:32 AM on December 9, 2003

For the concert, $250k is being contributed by a local bank, but the Turnpike Authority will be kicking in $200k of its own money from its "public education" budget.
posted by MediaMan at 11:02 AM on December 9, 2003

Better they spend it on concerts than on turnpike "advisory" signs that only seem to get activated to tell us to "Cowboy up."

As for London, a pity they couldn't shoot the fireworks at David Blaine ...
posted by adamg at 11:05 AM on December 9, 2003

"We look to Los Angeles
For the language we use
London is dead, London is dead"
-Morrissey (Glamorous Glue)
posted by shoepal at 11:13 AM on December 9, 2003

That's why they call us "Taxachusetts," friends.

And we swear that we're the most tax burdened people in the country even if it's not close to true. And we have good schools and healthcare. Go figure.

I'm not suggesting that a concert to celebrate asphalt is in any way redeemable. I just want to put that label to rest so that poor Michael Dukakis can rest in peace. But I'll bet that the current governor spends $200,000 a year on funny underwear and disposable enemas. They should give that concert money to me to throw a kegguh in the Public Garden. That would be remembered for years. Especially by the cops and the geese.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:13 AM on December 9, 2003

[/looks in backyard]
[/cuts finger off]
What is the point of this post? Money is wasted everywhere. Are you disappointed it didn't go where you want. You may want to point out things but how do these two tie together besides being from the same source?
posted by thomcatspike at 11:20 AM on December 9, 2003

I'm curious on exactly why the London mayor thinks that a two minute show would rival those of some other large displays, like new york and LA. Has he ever watched those? Or the display put on by detroit and windsor near the independance day celebrations? 2 minutes ain't going to cut it.
posted by piper28 at 11:20 AM on December 9, 2003

Um, I'll vote for the Millennium Dome as the biggest boondoggle of recent years.

I think that having a Pops concert in the tunnel is kind of a neat idea, frankly. It's not like the money would otherwise go to feed the poor and homeless. Why doesn't Romney fire his stupid press lackey Fehrnstrom and use HIS salary to pay for a fun celebration of the Big Dig? Thanks a lot, Governor BuzzKill.

And thanks, Mayor Curley, for reminding the rational folks among us that the actual reason "they call us 'Taxachusetts'" is because some people rely on the soundbites to do their thinking for them.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:25 AM on December 9, 2003

I'm so depressed. How can they not be calling the concert "The Big Shindig"?
posted by tingley at 11:39 AM on December 9, 2003

Ahh, nothing like a false comparison that doesn't even take into account the facts of Boston's Big Dig and this celebration. There's no direct taxpayer money involved in throwing the party. When is it relevant for government to tell private companies how to spend their money "more responsibly?" That's the biggest joke, in a state where state local aid has been cut back so far so as to negatively impact core services (don't even get me started) and education.

Instead of wasting time and deflecting focus on Massachusetts continuing budget crisis, the speaker should spend more time on government matters and less time trying to micromanage other departments and criticizing some folks who are simply trying to show appreciation for a very complex, difficult engineering marvel. What a wet noodle.
posted by docjohn at 11:56 AM on December 9, 2003

Whether the people of the Commonwealth are richer than most has no bearing on the discussion

Except that per-capita income is part of the tax burden equation. Economists decided that, not me.

What relevance could the first number have without noting how much of a weight it is for the folks to whom it's applied? If you make more money, then it's pretty rational that you'll pay more taxes. As a percentage of income, we've got it pretty good.

results will vary on an individual basis. nobody likes paying taxes. a small number of massachusetts taxpayers developed symptoms like watery stools, low MCAS scores in their community and Republican voting records. Ask your accountant if Massachusetts is right for you.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:03 PM on December 9, 2003

some people rely on the soundbites to do their thinking for them

ok, hello, i was JOKING. it's mostly federal money down in the Big Dig pit anyway (thanks, Uncle Ted!), and i wasn't trying to malign Dukakis either. i just think it's comical that now Finneran et al. are playing "fiscal watchdog" after whistling idly by for a decade of blatant mismanagement and corruption and greed. whatever our relative tax burden in MA, we should invite the whole nation to this tunnel party since they are footing the bill too.
posted by serafinapekkala at 12:59 PM on December 9, 2003

Actually, I rather like paying taxes. Better than the alternative I dare say.

(Isn't the Taxachusetts line from way back when folks were fleeing the northeast to reach the tax-friendlier climes of Florida?)
posted by Dick Paris at 1:10 PM on December 9, 2003

If the project gives Bostonians a sense of civic pride, why not? $250,000.00 is not a large amount of money and I am sure it has been spent during other civic celebrations.

That being said, is anyone really excited in Boston about the Big Dig being done? I am not being sarcastic, I am just wondering.
posted by Coop at 5:15 PM on December 9, 2003

[quote]That being said, is anyone really excited in Boston about the Big Dig being done?[/quote]

I'm not in boston, but the discovery channel show that talked about it was kinda neat. Beyond that I have no compelling feelings one way or the other.
posted by piper28 at 6:39 PM on December 9, 2003

I'm in the Boston area and my wife commutes into the city everyday for work. We, like most living in this area, will be glad when it is finished if, for no other reason, that the roads will get back to semi-normal. Nobody is under any illusion that it's going to clear up rush-hour traffic, but it takes down a 1950's era monstrosity that cut the city off from its waterfront. That alone is worth almost the price tag (hey, government put it there in the first place, so yes, they should be responsible for taking it down!).
posted by docjohn at 7:08 PM on December 9, 2003

Serafinapekkala, I thought you might be joking, but I knew there would be others who weren't ;) I have yet to meet a soundbite half as smart as you.

TRHarlan, I have lived in other states, and I feel like we get a pretty good return for value on our taxes in Massachusetts. And, er, what Mayor Curley said--according to the economists, our tax burden is pretty sweet.

The idea that it's a race to the bottom blows my mind. "Hey, we've got crappy roads, bad schools, lame-ass law enforcement and no business or technology base--but look at our AMAZINGLY LOW TAXES!!" Thanks, but I don't play that.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:53 PM on December 9, 2003

as someone who's worked on the big dig people should be pleased and amazed it's getting finished at all, it really is an amazing engineering feat. Oh, and if they were intent on saving money they wouldn't have thrown in an extra $600 million on the unnecessary widest cable stay.
posted by NGnerd at 10:09 PM on December 9, 2003

Livingstone said he wanted to create an extravanganza to rival the spectacular fireworks displays that cities such as Sydney and Los Angeles have become noted for. Unlike those cities where millions turn out to watch the displays, the mayor doesn't want the hassle of gawking crowds.

Sydney maybe, but Los Angeles?!?

I don't think I've ever seen a single event in Los Angeles draw even a quarter of that, much less a million.
posted by calwatch at 11:00 PM on December 9, 2003

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