THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
BAY STATE LOSING INFLUENCE IN CONGRESS

Mass. keeps doors closed to newcomers

December 28, 2010

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THE 2010 Census: Republican states once again gain political clout by welcoming newcomers and retaining their own young people. Massachusetts looses out again because we closed the door.

Texas and Arizona may hold anti-immigrant rallies and have harsh anti-immigrant laws, but they allow new homes to be built so newcomers have a place to live. Around here, we welcome other cultures but don’t actually make room for them. Our zoning laws demand large house lots, setbacks, and endless community meetings, hampering new construction. This drives up housing prices and prevents migrants, immigrants, and even our own young people from building a life here. We have affordable housing programs, but they cannot solve our self-created housing shortage.

Conservatives would say our slow growth is caused by high taxes and entrenched unions rather then restrictive zoning, but this is clearly wrong as our economy is doing comparatively well. We do not have to copy Texas’s sprawl to grow. At no cost we could zone for dense, earth-friendly, “smart growth’’ near cities and public transit. However we grow, we should grow, or the voice of the Northeast, and progressive politics, will be drowned out.

Daniel Werner, Jamaica Plain