It's time to limit the state historical commission

Secretary of State calls bill "Special Interest Legislation"

(The possibility of) Indian artifacts chosen over much-needed jobs

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This week State Senator Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport) filed legislation seeking to limit the authority of the state Historical Commission and prevent it from ruling on properties that are not list on the state’s Historical Register.

Senator Rodrigues filed this legislation in response to the cancellation of a $65 million office complex in Freetown after the commission demanded extensive archaeological work in case there were artifacts left behind by the Wampanoag Indians.  Had the complex been built, Westwood medical software publisher Meditech would have employed some 800 workers.

The Boston Herald reported that Secretary of State William Galvin’s office referred to the bill as “special interest legislation”.

Jobs are of special interest to just about everyone in Massachusetts right now – and his hysterical commission just chased 800 jobs away from Freetown.

We suppose Galvin might have a point.  Jobs are of special interest to just about everyone in Massachusetts right now – and his hysterical commission just chased 800 jobs away from Freetown.

And how many more jobs would the Meditech facility have created?  How many businesses in and around Freetown might have increased their revenue?  Had the facility been built, some 800 people would have been working in Freetown at least five days a week.  The commuters would need to buy gas somewhere, eat lunch, enjoy morning coffee, shop during their lunch breaks, and have their cars serviced whilst at work.  Meditech would have needed landscape care, snow removal, trash removal and the services of skilled tradesmen on a continuing basis.  Indeed, many of the company’s employees might have chosen to buy real estate in Freetown and environs.  Meditech is reported to employ over 3,500 people in Massachusetts, so there’s an excellent chance some of them might have visited Freetown on occasion, as well.

Additionally, the built-out property would have ended up paying a much higher tax bill than the acreage is currently generating.

So let’s be clear, the “special interest group” here is a lot more than those 800 employees who won’t be contributing new revenue to Freetown’s economy.  For Secretary Galvin’s office to call Senator Rodrigues’ bill a piece of “special interest legislation” is an insult to every unemployed worker in Massachusetts.

For Secretary Galvin’s office to call Senator Rodrigues’ bill a piece of “special interest legislation” is an insult to every unemployed worker in Massachusetts.

If the state Historical Commission and the Mashpee Wampanoag nation are concerned that the Freetown property contains Indian artifacts, the Wampanoag’s should immediately pay for an archeological study of the property.  If it is found to be historically significant, then the Wampanoags, perhaps with the help of the state, should buy the 138 acre site at market rate and preserve it to their hearts’ content.  Maybe it would make a nice site for a casino.

Massachusetts needs to retain every job and must look to creating more jobs.  Rhode Island seems to have its eye on the ball as they woo away Massachusetts employers.

We’re getting tired of political correctness when it is as damaging to Massachusetts’ economy as this outrageous situation.  As Secretary Galvin’s historical commission slams the gates shut in the face of Meditech we say, “Enough is enough!”  Sustainable jobs for Massachusetts’ taxpayers are too important to be overridden by the archaeological concerns of another “special interest”, in this case the Wampanoags.

We urge our readers to ask their state legislators to support Senator Rodrigues’ bill.  Tell them, “I’m mad as hell and not going to take this anymore!” 

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