Blind spot on housing

August 21, 2009

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IN “WE need a plan to keep people from leaving the state’’ (op-ed, Aug. 18), Phil Redo is only the latest in a series of executives whose descriptions of what ails Massachusetts seem to grace the op-ed pages of this paper every few years.

In looking at why we are losing population relative to other states, especially in the South and Southwest, Redo does his best to ignore the main obstacle to living in the Bay State for the average family - the unconscionably high cost of housing. I’ll give Redo credit - he manages to use the word “housing’’ twice in his piece, although he never says just what it is about housing that’s a problem.

Instead he trots out the usual businessman’s list of bogeymen: “stifling bureaucracy,’’ which average residents never encounter unless they forget to renew their license online.

“High taxes’’ - I don’t like paying taxes any more than the next person, but we’re losing population to California, which has a 10 percent income tax; and vague problems with education, when we’re ranked top in national assessments and are losing families to states in the bottom half.

The selective blindness that allows business leaders to ignore the major role that inflated housing costs play in decreasing our state’s competitiveness makes a bad problem even worse.


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