In response to your recent editorial “The Pacheco dividends at the T,” I am impelled, once again, to lay out some facts regarding the Taxpayer Protection Act, or the Pacheco Law.
The law was enacted in 1993 to protect the Commonwealth from the waste, fraud, and abuse that routinely took place as a result of an unchecked privatization scheme implemented at the expense of taxpayers under the administration at that time. The law was originally named “An Act Providing for the Delivery of State Services in a Fiscally Responsible Manner,” and that’s exactly what it does: It puts in place a transparent outsourcing process so that taxpayers will actually know how their money is being spent, while the auditor, acting on their behalf, can determine whether the Commonwealth will actually save at least one penny when it comes to privatizing service.
Contracts need to be vetted, and the proper checks and balances must be in place when we explore the privatization of our state services. Without the Pacheco Law, that does not happen. The taxpayer needs independent verification that these decisions are based on cost, competition, and value.
I find it ironic and disappointing that there is such a short-term memory on this subject, given the important work of the Boston Globe Spotlight Team on this very issue. Under the administration in office at that time, the use of an opaque privatization scheme ultimately rewarded relationships over fiscal responsibility in the issuing of contracts. The Spotlight Team shone a light on the abuse that took place as a result. Now it seems as though we’re headed back into the shadows.
The editorial is quick to use as gospel the assurances and estimates of the the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority regarding prospective savings. To use “The T says” as a primary source is not sufficient for me, and it shouldn’t be sufficient for our taxpayers.
The writer, a Democrat of Taunton, is the author of the 1993 law.