Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 177]: Beacon Hill budget fireworks

It seems our fair state legislators have had just about enough of deadlines — whether they be arbitrary, self-imposed or, like, totally for real.

Sure, they can pass monumental raises for themselves in a flash, but assemble a balanced spending plan in time for the new fiscal year? Nope — that notion’s a dud. Less than sparkly revenues and quickly rising uncertainty in D.C., indeed, have rained on the annual budget season parade.

Hitch wonders if the grand finale will be worth the wait.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 176]: WRTA needs some fare-weather friends

It gets more expensive to live in Worcester by the day.

Amid the bustle and excitement of new buildings climbing toward the sky, come hiked fees, escalating taxes and fancier shops charging even fancier prices for your morning coffee.

More Hitch | What if … Worcester | Free to Read

The one silver lining is, generally when you pay more you get more. The RTA, though, with a July 1 fare increase playing sidekick to wide-ranging service reductions, is trying a different approach.Hitch is skeptical that this is the best route.

Hitch is skeptical that this is the best route.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 175]: At Wild Willy’s, reservations for Maura Healey

You can always count on a little extracurricular excitement in and around Worcester’s myriad bars and restaurants. And once summer gets into full swing, tempers tend to flare faster than the mercury rises.

So it was that a regional burger chain became a crime scene last weekend after one employee allegedly stabbed another.

Where does Maura Healey, the state’s liberally ambitious (or is it ambitiously liberal) attorney general, fit in? Stay cool — Hitch will tell you!

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 174]: A blunt assessment

As it turns out, regulating marijuana is no piece of cake. Did somebody say, cake? Man, I could go for some cake right about now. Frosting’s the best! Wait, what? Oh right

While State House leaders seemed to put out the fire after bungling their first pass at a legal pot law, voters are still feeling the burn from a proposed tax that could go as high as 28 percent.

With deliberations set to continue this week, Hitch is hungry for some real answers.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 173]: Checking in on Worcester Citizen Advisory Council

You maybe heard a little about this committee’s unorthodox interview technique last week — probably in another blockbuster Sunday edition of Worcester Sun — so we won’t bore you with all the gory details.

Liberal do-gooders — well-meaning and civically engaged as they may be — can’t seem to get out of their own way when it comes to freedom of expression. Guilt by association appears to be their preferred legal theory.

Unfortunately for them, Hitch holds the gavel — and is ready to rule.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 172]: Warren, McGovern and Markey — oh my!

Republicans and Democrats have been taking aim at each other since long before Donald Trump commandeered the Oval Office.

Of course, once President Business took over, liberals have sharpened their sights — and their rhetoric.

More Hitch | What if … Worcester | Free to Read

Following the midweek shooting of GOP lawmakers and staff practicing for a congressional baseball game, though, the war of words among chief Trump antagonizers — and the bronzer-in-chief himself — appropriately took a knee.

Still, Hitch was a bit surprised.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 171]: Worcester budget writers are a cut above

The city’s spending plan for fiscal 2018 comes with a healthy bottom line of about $632 million, some $13 million more than last year.

That, of course, after those intrepid souls on the City Council bravely hacked a whopping $622,112 from the city manager’s original proposal. While a large majority of the new spending will go to schools, many observers decried the lack of scrutiny on how their tax dollars are spent.

Hitch takes a little off the top to get to the bottom of this.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 170]: Worcester school initiative in the spin cycle

This one seemed cut-and-dried to us: In an effort to curb absenteeism and boost kids’ spirits, washers and dryers will be made available to city students at four more schools, following a trial run at Sullivan Middle School this year.

Related editorial: A lesson in laundry and kindness

Plus, UMass Medical has stepped up to help finance the plan. Everybody wins, right? Well, haters gonna hate. And keyboard cowboys across the interwebs found myriad reasons to pick apart the laudable endeavor.

Hitch separates the dark from the light to get to the bottom of this.

More Hitch | What if … Worcester | Free to Read

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 169]: Staying cool, with Charlie Baker

It’s not easy being a Republican in Massachusetts — or, really, anywhere these days, what with President Aerosol chiseling new holes in the O-zone whenever he takes a break from tweeting jibberish.

Baker, though, has not been shy about disagreeing with Trump on health care and other socioeconomic issues; he again strayed from the pack to affirm the Bay State’s commitment to address climate change.

Hitch thinks this won’t be doing Baker any favors with the already-skeptical state GOP.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 168]: Getting carried away with plastic bags

Forget about the splintered neighborhoods, persistent crime, aging infrastructure and simmering feud with the teachers union. No time for that stuff — it’s an election year, so let’s talk about banning plastic shopping bags.

Maybe conservative longtime councilor and former mayor Konnie Lukes can see the liberal writing on the wall, as at least one at-large incumbent is likely to be on the outs come November. But still, the city certainly has bigger fish to fry.

Never one to hide behind politics, Hitch has some thoughts.