Flynn dons political sneakers, goes one-on-one with legislature
Having friends in high places can be a real asset, especially within Massachusetts government circles and atop Beacon Hill. Boston's Mayor-elect Raymond L. Flynn thus almost surely can count on a lot of sympathetic ears whenever he drops in at the State House, a place where he may spend considerable time during the coming months and years.Skip to next paragraph
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The big question, however, is to what extent friendships among former Beacon Hill colleagues will produce favorable responses to some of Mr. Flynn's legislative proposals.
While Flynn is far too practical a politician to take anything for granted, particularly lawmaker support for measures that might cost the commonwealth more , he anticipates less difficulty in selling his ideas than did outgoing Mayor Kevin H. White.
Unlike Mayor White, whose relations with the legislature were rocky at worst and remotely cordial at best, Flynn is not expected to rely on the persuasive talents of paid lobbyists.
Mayor White, it may be recalled, got off on the wrong foot with members of the House and the Senate when, upon his election to the city's helm 16 years ago , he served notice that he would not step down from his post as secretary of state until state lawmakers approved certain legislation. The measure, finally enacted, provided for state takeover of what had been the local government's share of welfare costs.
Certain lawmakers were particularly anxious to have the secretary of state's chair vacant, since the new occupant would be chosen by the legislature, and former House Speaker John F. X. Davoren, a Milford Democrat, had his sights set on it. And the latter's departure from the legislature cleared the way for fomrer state Rep. Robert H. Quinn, a Boston Democrat, to gain the House rostrum.
The cost takeover measure might well have passed anyway, but the White push from behind the scenes and the ambitions of Mr. Davoren and Mr. Quinn probably made it happen a bit sooner.
As was the situation in November 1967, when Mayor White was first elected, Mayor-elect Flynn approaches Boston's executive chair at a time when concern for the city's financial status has spurred a new drive for increased revenue.
Already awaiting lawmaker attention at their 1984 sitting is a variety of Flynn-sponsored, wallet-relief proposals for the capital city.
These include a 15 percent parking excise tax, a boost in the hotel-motel occupancy tax from 5.7 percent to 8 percent, and a levy on certain property sales where the seller had held ownership for but a few years. Other key items on the mayor-elect's Beacon Hill shopping list are state takeover of all Suffolk County courthouse and jail costs, phased-in state assumption of the local share of Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority operating deficits, and state payments in-lieu-of-taxes to Boston for certain state-owned property within the city.
Most of these proposals are anything but new, a lot of lawmaker help will surely be necessary if any of them are to make it in 1984. Much may depend on how compelling a case Flynn can make before his former fellow-legislators.
None of these proposals, or others that are sure to follow from the Boston executive suite, are cast in concrete. If senators and representatives can come up with a plan by which the mayor gets significantly more money to run the city, Flynn, for whom pride of authorship is not all that important, can be expected to work for its passage.
Some veteran observers on the Massachusetts lawmaking scene, however, are skeptical how successful pleas for appreciable new revenues for Boston will be next year. It is an election year, and senators and representatives may be hesitant to go along with anything that would tap the purses of their constituents.