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Senate Candidates Debate — Is It Called Taxes or Revenue Enhancement?

The four Democrats seeking to win the party's nomination for the Second Essex District seat in the Sept. 6 primary debated at Beverly High School on Thursday night.

Editor's Note: The story was clarified after being initially published to add Manning's stance on taxes and her quote about eliminating duplicate services.

Is “revenue enhancement” a code word for taxes?

That was one of the questions up for debate on Thursday night by the Democratic Party candidates for state Senate in the Second Essex District, which includes Salem. It also encompasses Peabody, Danvers, Beverly and Topsfield.

“You’ll be hearing that a lot tonight,” said Mary-Ellen Manning, after fellow Democrat John Slattery said, in response to a question, that the state needs to invest more in public transportation.

Manning said she is against raising taxes to increase funding to important programs.

"I don't think that's the first solution, I think that's the last solution," she said, later adding that she instead favors eliminating duplicate services and pork-barrel projects.

But Slattery fired back. In answering the next question about education, Slattery said, Manning had suggested spending more for English as a Second Language classes for adults. 

“I guess it’s OK in education but not in other areas,” Slattery said.

The four Democratic candidates for state Senate — in addition to Manning and Slattery, includes Joan Lovely and Edward Carroll, both of Salem — spent about 75 minutes on stage in the newly renovated auditorium at Beverly High School. The debate was hosted by the Salem News and BevCam, Beverly’s public access TV channel, and hosted by Salem News Editor David Olsen.

All four candidates will be on the ballot for the Democratic primary on Thursday, Sept. 6. The winner will face Republican Richard Jolitz in the general election in November.

The debate remained civil, with the candidates at first standing, and later sitting, at a table together on the stage.

Taxes later became an issue, this time from a question to the candidates that came from a Salem News reader.

Lovely suggested that the state’s income tax rate should be rolled back to 5 percent, which the voters had backed in a referendum.

“The legislature should listen to the people,” she said, later adding: “I think we are collecting enough taxes.”

When a tax cut went before the legislature, and Slattery represented Peabody in the House of Representatives, he said he did not back the full rollback because “the entire state would have come to a halt; It wasn’t workable.”

Instead, he said he favored a plan where the tax rate would be lowered — which it has, to 5.3 percent — based on increasing revenue.

Manning said Slattery’s notion that government would have come to a halt — and that there would be no money to build bridges or pay teachers and police officers — was incorrect.

“Come on,” she said.

Carroll said his plan to bring a resort casino to the Salem power plant property would help lower taxes be devoting 1 cent from ever dollar of revenue at the property to local government.

“My plan is the only one with jobs and lower taxes,” he said.

But also at issue — perhaps surprisingly — was racial profiling. The candidates were asked about their position on the Secure Communities Act, a federal law recently enacted in Massachusetts where law enforcement checks the immigration status of people who are arrested.

Carroll said from 25 years working as a jail guard — “Profiling works; body language talks.”

“I believe it is racial profiling,” he said. “It works and it will keep us safe.”

The other three candidates all said they oppose racial profiling.

“Racial profiling is simply wrong and we shouldn’t have that in Massachusetts,” Slattery said.

Carroll said that the fact the other three candidates agree with each highlights one of the things that makes him, as a former jail guard, different from his opponents.

“That’s the answer you’ll get from an attorney — that profiling is wrong,” he said.

Chris Chatzi August 17, 2012 at 05:57 PM
“The legislature should listen to the people. . . I think we are collecting enough taxes.” Then, Joaney, why is the Salem City Council considering voting on the Community Preservation Act AGAIN when the people voted against the tax in 2007??? More phony baloney I guess.
gene August 18, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Good point about the CPA. Remember a couple years ago it was being sold as free money from the state. Then, before you knew it, the state cut funding. This is a scheme to take care of certain special interests. This City council is so weak they will probably vote for it.
Antoine M. Boisvert August 20, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Can we leave the Nazis out of this please? We don't all have to like Councilor Lovely or Mayor Driscoll. In fact, people are free to hate them, vote against them, challenge their policies, etcetera. That doesn't make any of them Nazis.
Antoine M. Boisvert August 20, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Evan, I don't give a hoot about Joan Lovely's politics. I freely admit that I know very little about them. But to compare a two-bit urban politician's shenanigans with the Nazis is, I still maintain, inappropriate, and exactly what is wrong with political discourse in our country. If George W. Bush is compared to a Nazi it is just as coarsening, just as degrading to ourselves, as if Barack Obama is. It may interest you to know that on the internet there is an observed phenomenon called Godwin's law. It dates back to 1990 and the earliest days of online discussions. Anyway, it asserts that as soon as any party in an argument brings up the Nazis, the discussion is over, and the person who brought up the Nazi analogy is the loser. I am not sure if slinging "Nazi" around as an insult really quite qualifies, but it is something to consider. If Joan Lovely achieves election through violence or starts assassinating her enemies, or through race-baiting, or puts her supporters in uniform, I guess then you could call her a "Nazi" with some justice. Until then, she is just another small time Pol, who has you knickers in a twist.
Aubry Bracco (Editor) August 20, 2012 at 02:37 AM
We want everyone to share their opinions but please remember we don't allow personal attacks and offensive name-calling. We urge you to voice your opinion but remember to be respectful of the candidates and other readers.
Bob Daly August 20, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Extremely upset at Aubry Bracco for removing honest, accurate comments I read last night on a horrible, nasty, lying candidate in Joan Lovely. She is using strong arm tactics to bully good people into putting up signs for her and using Kim Driscoll & Jason Silva as the muscle. Joan Lovely needs to come clean and address this issue & apologize to the public!
Aubry Bracco (Editor) August 20, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Dear Lucy Gonzalez (and all other Salem Patch readers), If you're wondering why your comments and the comments of other readers are missing from this article, it's because A. They were libelous or B. They were flagged by our readers. Both happened on this thread. Instead of spewing venom, I suggest you take a good look at your posts and consider how they may be perceived. Your argument may be better received if you take a close look at how you are constructing your argument and the language you are choosing to use. Even those with political views completely different from your views may be willing to listen if you choose your words wisely and responsibly. Consider this your final public warning or you and anyone else who violates our terms of use will be suspended from this site. The world of politics is a harsh place. The rhetoric we use to express our beliefs is brutally honest and sometimes scathing, but libelous statements will never be okay on Salem Patch — there is a line. As adults using this forum to explore the complex and loaded issues that affect our city and larger community, you bear the burden of navigating that line and adhering to our terms of use.
Aubry Bracco (Editor) August 20, 2012 at 09:09 PM
As this site's editor, I believe more than enough leeway has been given to community members with differing views and different ways of expressing them. As for making accusations implicating me and your concerns that I was called by public officials and instructed to remove comments on this article, you are wrong. I have worked tirelessly to serve this community, and I refuse to let this site be a playground for bullying and hate speech. As such, it's time to move on from this article. To all those who use this site responsibly, thank you. Your participation is what makes this free site Salem's meeting place for everyone — whether you're a political junkie or passionate about pooches. As the Sept. 6 primary approaches, I encourage you to review our terms of use, and please enjoy the beautiful weather as we move into the bewitching season. Our terms of use can be found here: http://www.patch.com/terms Aubry Salem Patch Editor

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