Jaws and State Finances

The collapse of financial giants like Lehman Brothers and Freddie Mac was scary like the time the babysitter you had when you were seven-years-old decided it would be appropriate to watch Jaws while you were still awake.

But now that the bad economy is starting to hit state and local government, it feels like we’re actually heading headfirst into the shark’s gaping maw.

This morning, the Globe reported that State Treasurer Tim Cahill will have to take $310 million from the state’s rainy day fund and borrow money at a high interest rate to cover payments due to municipalities at the end of the week.

“This stuff is unheard of,” Cahill said. “It’s like going to the loan shark for money.”

Get out of the water, Tim! Da-dun. Da-dun.

Who’s that following the trail of chum? Why, it’s the Turnpike Authority! Coming to tell us we’re going to need a mortgage to cover the toll hikes they’re considering for next year.

Dadun. Dadun.

One proposal floated by Turnpike Authority board members today at their monthly meeting would increase the charge for passenger cars on the eastern portion of the roadway by $1, increasing the cost at toll booths at Allston-Brighton and Weston from $1.25 to $2.25. Another alternative would raise the fare for tunnels by $5, from $3.50 to $8.50.

Five bucks? One way?! Will the toll collector at least squeegee our windows for us after we pay? Oh, right. Eventually there won’t be any toll collectors. Because Turnpike director Alan LeBovidge has fed them all to carnivorous sea-beasts to cut payroll expenses. Or fired them. Whatever.