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Globe editorial

Advice & Dissent

May 23, 2009
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The budget crisis
This week, the Globe devoted two editorials to the state's worsening budget picture. As tax revenues plunge, we noted a number of vital services - from extended school days for disadvantaged children to care for mentally retarded residents - that could be threatened. And we supported efforts to make up the shortfall with a sales tax, though we also supported Governor Patrick's threat to veto such an increase if legislators fail to enact reforms.

Many boston.com readers opposed a tax increase. For instance, amaryllis81 wrote, "The Legislature will always cut from the neediest before cutting benefits to the special-interest groups (including unions) who keep them in office. The Globe is falling for this ploy yet again. There are plenty of places to cut, and cuts need to be made."

Another reader took issue with our support for extending the sales tax to alcohol purchases at package stores. We argued, "It never made any sense that drinkers at Massachusetts restaurants pay a 5 percent tax on their beer and wine while someone buying a six-pack or a fine Pinot Noir at a package store does not." DotDude replied, "With this logic, you could argue that it makes no sense that we pay 5 percent tax on our food in restaurants, while someone buying the same food in a grocery store does not!"

Diversity in Boston
On Tuesday, we highlighted the Commonwealth Compact, an initiative to promote diversity in local workplaces. We argued that, while the full richness of the local workforce isn't fully tapped, new statistics show that Greater Boston is making progress beyond its reputation as an icy place for female and minority employees.

Reader tmarini argued that the "inference that there is some magic . . . ratio that must be observed is preposterous. . . . Truth be told, you can make the analysis of the statistics come out with just about any answer that pleases your initial hypothesis, biases and all. In a state where minorities make up less than 20 percent of the population - and where we have a sizable influx of commuters from adjoining states, which by the way have similar percentages of minorities - then I would expect minority representation in any position to be less than 20 percent, just based on the pool of available candidates."

JuneB26 took issue with an "implied correlation" - both in the editorial and in comments critical of it - "between being a person of color and being disadvantaged." This reader said some commenters were "making a big assumption that people of color are uneducated, lazy, don't know how to speak well, etc. These assumptions are exactly why there is a lack of diversity in the workplace."

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