Alleviating the massive cutbacks caused by Proposition 2 1/2 will be the decisive issue in this year's state elections, four candidates for candidates for lieutenant governor said last night during a Kennedy School panel discussion.
The candidates agreed that the tax out reflected people's dislike of insufficient government but will severely restrict next year's administration and must be reduced.
Samuel Rotondi added that politicians across the state should accept the general mandate of Prop 2 1/2 but soften its content. The current wording of the law prevents municipal and city governments from honoring their debts become citizens are reluctant to purchase bonds, he added.
The lack of extra money has especially last Cambridge, he said, "became its unusually low property tax rates prevents it from generating enough revenue to cover its services."
All of the candidates felt that Prop, 2 1/2 will force politicians to be more efficient and aware of budgetary restraints in the future.
Evelyn Murphy, the only female candidate and state Secretary of Environmental Affairs under former governor Michael Dukakis, said the politician's task is not to fault Prop, 2 1/2 but "to get tax dollars to work harder," Government must "set sensible priorities" and abolish unnecessary services, she added.
She also said that the legislature must draft budgets with both state and local levels in mind. Last year, the Commonwealth spent $200,000 training barbers while cities were laying off police and firemen.
Saying that the "voters have cut off their noses to spite their faces," Middlesex Assistant District Attorney John Kerry said Prop 2 1/2 is a protest of the "grotesque failure" of previous administrations and fitting retaliation to "years of wastefulness."
The Harvard Democratic Club, which cosponsored the discussion with the Institute of Politics, has not decided whether to endorse any of the candidates, said club Vice President Chris A. Spaulding '83.