By Joshua Resnek
Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo started his day in Chelsea Wednesday morning at the annual Chamber of Commerce Government Breakfast at the French Club.
For DeLeo, it was another early morning wake-up, another speech on the state of the economy, and yet one more opportunity for the speaker to show the people of this state who he is and to let them know what he is all about.
DeLeo grew up in East Boston, moved to Winthrop, and isnâ€™t exactly a stranger in Chelsea or in Revere, which he has represented for 18 years in the House.
DeLeo, who arrived a few minutes late, apologized to the crowd of businessmen and women at the French Club.
â€œI battled heavy traffic coming in from the suburb of Winthrop,â€ he joked.
He began by discussing his timing.
â€œI picked a great time to become speaker, didnâ€™t I?â€ he said. â€œThe worst recession since the depression. Government in turmoil. Everyone riled up about government â€¦ and I become the speaker. Wow,â€ he said.
DeLeo delighted the early morning crowd in Chelsea, as he generally does wherever he speaks.
Over the years, and especially since becoming speaker, DeLeo has blossomed as a speaker, politician and leader.
The Bobby DeLeo one meets passing through French Square or at an Elks time in Winthrop is the same humble, respectful, often humorous Statehouse leader that the crowd met in Chelsea or wherever he goes.
Once the introductions were over in Chelsea Wednesday morning, DeLeo talked about the Massachusetts economy.
â€œObviously, the current economic downturn has strained the stateâ€™s ability to provide local aid and services. Last year, a number of ideas were tossed around as potential taxes to raise state revenues. Some plans called for a tax on candy and soda. Others suggested raising the gas tax 19 cents per gallon, a move that would have doubled our tax on gas. I called for a sales tax raise as the simplest fairest way to spread the pain, and it was done,â€ he said.
DeLeo then joked, â€œBut I donâ€™t want to be talking about taxes and I donâ€™t have the stomach, nor does the Legislature nor do the taxpayers, for additional tax hikes.â€
Under DeLeoâ€™s watch, state taxes on business are falling.
â€œOur corporate tax rate, which had been 9.5 percent will drop to 8 percent by the 2012 tax year. The tax rate in financial institutions, which currently stands at 10.5 percent will drop to 9 percent by 2012.â€
This is what businesspeople want to hearÂ from their speaker of the House at Chamber Breakfast.
And this is exactly what the members of the Revere Chamber of Commerce will hear from Winthropâ€™s speaker of the House Thursday morning in Revere, where – you guessed it – Bobby DeLeo will be the featured speaker in more ways than one.