Keller @ Large: Beacon Hill: Do You Really Care?

BOSTON (CBS) – When you’ve been covering politics as long as I have, you do tend to get a little jaded. The posturing, the pontificating, the partisanship – after awhile it all merges into a constant, self-serving hum.

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But once in awhile something comes over the transom that reminds you what’s really at stake, and yesterday was one of those times.

It’s budget season up on Beacon Hill, and contrary to the insulting baby talk we get fed about how well things are going, the economy is still unable to sustain the financial needs of state government, requiring yet another year of serious budget cuts.

And I certainly hope the legislators and governor are seriously weighing whether or not they really need that extra deputy press secretary or non-essential line item, and don’t need to have their priorities refreshed by a letter like the one I got from Barbara, a woman with income at the poverty line whose son is academically gifted.

But his Adams scholarship only covers tuition, and the news that UMass is considering once again raising student fees has her feeling desperate.

You see, tuition is only a small portion of the cost of attending UMass – they always jack up the fees instead, perhaps because it sounds better than raising tuition.

“Why don’t they just up the tuition the $900.00 bucks, so at least the kids that earned this particular scholarship can get a little better break?” she writes.

And consider the letter I got from Dennis, a volunteer activist on behalf of schools serving kids and young adults with autism.

For the 3rd year in a row, he tells me, the legislature is considering freezing the already-low salaries of the teachers who work with these kids.

“Easy to cut special needs,” he writes. “Not enough people care.”

Which raises a question for the powers-that-be – do you really care enough about the people who really need our tax dollars to make sure every last one of them goes where it should?

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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