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Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick delivers his State of the Commonwealth address in the House Chambers at the State House.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is proposing a tax overhaul to raise revenue for investments in transportation and education, while making the tax system more progressive. Patrick wants to lower the state sales tax, eliminate a corporate deduction, and raise both the income tax and the amount of income exempted from the income tax.

Under Patrick's plan, the state income tax would go up one percentage point, to 6.25 percent, but exemptions, the amount of income on which you don't pay income tax, would be doubled. At the same time, the sales tax would drop from 6.25 percent to 4.5 percent. The effect:

While average taxpayers who earn less than $37,523 would see a $100-to-$200 tax cut, everyone else would pay higher taxes. Those who earn more than $102,886 would bear the brunt, paying an additional $3,200 a year in combined income and sales taxes.

For those in between, the change would be less dramatic. Taxpayers who earn $37,523 to $60,414 a year would pay $100 more, while those who earn $60,414 to $102,886 would pay $400 more.

Patrick argued his plan will make the tax code simpler and fairer because he will double personal exemptions and eliminate 45 deductions. His plan ­also calls for changing the corporate tax code to raise $149 million annually. Those changes include ending a deduction for large companies and eliminating a special classification for security and utility firms.

This is the kind of big thinking that's too rare even in states, like Massachusetts, with Democratic governors and heavily Democratic legislatures. When they're in control, Republicans don't hesitate to enact sweeping agendas, but Democrats are so much more timid, a timidity we're already seeing in the responses of Massachusetts legislators to Patrick's proposal. But go below the fold to see how, introducing the plan in his State of the Commonwealth address, Patrick made the case for what the state could do with the $1.9 billion in additional annual revenue this plan would provide:

(Continue reading below the fold.)

Let’s ensure that every child in Massachusetts has access to high quality early education. We know from educators, from academic research, from years of public policy, and from our own experience as parents that investing in our children at a young age pays huge dividends for them and for our community as a whole.

Let’s once again fund K-12 education higher than we did last year. Our lead in education is too important to lose. Our competitor states and competitor countries are not slowing down – neither should we. And as we do, let’s focus resources where poverty is too often concentrated, and ensure that every middle school in every Gateway City has a longer school day, filled with enrichment programs, service learning, art, exercise and music.

And let’s do more to make a college education affordable. Looking at those students at the Orchard Gardens school, thinking about where they want to go – you could hardly contain the promise and potential in the room. And why would we want to? Somewhere in that room or in one like it is the person who is going to cure cancer; or take us to Mars; or invent the next iPad. Somewhere in that room or one like it is the nurse who is going to care for us; the craftsman who is going to rebuild the skyline of our cities; the musician who is going to draw thousands to concerts; the teacher, like little Adriana wants to be, who is going to inspire another child. We have made great strides in higher education, and I am especially proud of our community college reforms last year. Let’s take the next step by raising our investment in public colleges and universities, and reinvigorating the MassGrants scholarship program.

We have unmet needs in our transportation system, too. And everybody knows it. Let’s give our citizens a 21st Century transportation network. Just imagine it.

Imagine if you could depend on a bus or subway that came on time, was safe and comfortable and ran until a student at UMass Boston or a worker in a downtown tower finished up at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. Imagine if a young innovator in the Seaport District could get a fast train to an affordable apartment in New Bedford at the end of the day or the family in New Bedford had access to the work and social opportunities in Boston. Imagine if the Green Line ran to Medford and the commuter rail ran to Springfield and the Housatonic line was reopened between Pittsfield and New York. Imagine if you could drive at highway speeds the whole length of the Pike and let technology collect your tolls. Imagine that the interchanges on 128 in Canton and Woburn were smoothed out and you didn’t have to add 45 minutes to your commute at rush hour just to get through the bottlenecks.

Deval Patrick has not always been a particularly progressive governor. But if this is how he wants to make his mark—bringing in more revenue to invest in things important to all residents of the state, and doing so by having wealthier people pay more—that's fantastic. Now we just need Massachusetts' Democratic legislators to not be giant wimps standing in the way.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:56 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  As an MA resident, I have to say (24+ / 0-)

    it sounds good to me! Personally, I'd be interested in living in a place like Fall River if there were commuter rail service to Boston. All of the transportation overhaul changes sound like a good idea to me.

    Please visit: http://www.jkmediasource.org

    by Noisy Democrat on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:06:30 AM PST

    •  I am also a Mass resident... (15+ / 0-)

      And I think the plan is great! My taxes might go up but it would not be a major burden. And lower sales taxes help everyone, and make it easier to not have to go to New Hampshire where there is no sales tax. I live in a Mass town on  the NH border and of course any tax delta means some people go across the border. But a lower sales tax might make that somewhat less likely; good for local businesses!

      •  my income is low (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RandomNonviolence

        so I'll make out like a bandit with the lower sales tax

        Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
        Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:50:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This would hurt my pocketbook (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TrueBlueMajority

          I buy most of my non-food items online, and food isn't taxed, so I wouldn't benefit from lower sales tax, and my income tax would definitely pinch.  But I do take public transportation--if this increased the number of buses on the road and lengthens the time they run, I would be very happy.  I don't mind paying.

          •  I'm not sure I'm on board (0+ / 0-)

            I'm right at the border of the top bracket, around the 100k mark, which gets hammered. We're looking at about a 3000 increase in taxes. 100k is a lot of money, and if I could count on making that much consistently, I'd absolutely be on board.

            I get it. I am part of the generation that graduated into the recession. It took a giant chunk out of my ass. I knew hunger and I came damn close to homelessness.

            It just feels like I've finally got my head above water, and now the new plan will take 3000 away from whatever personal safety net I've been able to piece together. It's not like we all aren't still drowning in debt.

            That's a lot to ask. I think 100k is too small for the highest tax bracket.

    •  Not so bold (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a gilas girl, rabel, nolagrl

      Only because our political horizons are so diminished by radical right Republicans and corporatist Democrats does seem "bold".

      Patrick supported an ill-fated gas tax hike, an increase in the sales tax, and casinos to the point of distraction as "revenue" soluitons.  After 6 long years of austerity and attacks on worker's rights (not as earth-shattering as our Republican friends but serious nonetheless) we get this proposal.

      I will be fighting to get these reforms passed, but I'm not going to complement Coca-Cola's legal counsel.

      Progressives need to get over politicians.  

  •  The first campaign I ever volunteered for... (7+ / 0-)

    ...was for Deval Patrick and Tim Murray in 2006.  While there have been occasional missteps, overall he's been a fantastic governor, and this proposal is fantastic.  I just hope Beacon Hill can be persuaded to enact it!

    Next up:  Tim Murray in 2014...

    Follow our efforts to turn Southern Worcester County (MA) blue! Greater Blackstone Valley Dems

    by AnotherMassachusettsLiberal on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:10:14 AM PST

  •  I wish this attitude could go national. (10+ / 0-)

    I saw a program on what is going on in Singapore. It's a sight to behold. And because of all the growth, there is very low unemployment. My wish is for the Repukes to take their heads out of their asses and get serious about growing our economy.

    •  Wanna hear our gov's plan? (6+ / 0-)

      Veto solar projects. Turn away free money for passenger rail. Pay companies that never intended to move to cut no more than a certain number of employees, but create no jobs. Pay companies to relocate from one part of their region to another. Suck money out of the turnpike, raise tolls and lay off employees, hurting the economy of that region. Privatize prisons. Suck money from public schools to give to failing for-profit schools run by campaign donors.

      Etc Etc Etc.

      Ohio: looking backward unless it elects a new governor in 2014.

      And I'm not NEARLY as pissed as my friend in Florida.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:08:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And ya wanna hear OUR guv's plan? (0+ / 0-)

      Eliminate both the North Carolina personal income tax and corporate income tax.

      Pay for it by raising the sales tax by at least 25% on basic necessities, and by 400% on groceries.

      It's an ALEC idea with Arthur Laffer's grubby paws all over it, and it's just part of the insane teabagger agenda to complete the destruction of the working classes in North Carolina, after abandoning the poor and unemployed.

      So, while Gov. Patrick's plan might not be "perfect" or even "bold" enough, Massachusetts residents should be grateful that they don't have North Carolina's state government.

      Our Governor is a clueless sycophantic figurehead for the far-right criminal class.

      His budget director is a guy who could pass for our very own Koch Brother, and who runs a retail empire that endeavors to rip off the people who are too poor to shop at Wal-Mart...ie, it's in his own business interest for there to be "more and poorer" poor people in our state.

      His Environmental secretary is a "restoration" profiteer who has made millions of dollars by selling pollution credits. And he'll be in charge of "safe fracking", one of the ultimate oxymorons.

      His Transportation secretary is a retired general who is so clueless about transportation that he was fired by the Wake County school board because he couldn't even administer the school bus system. But he was a Fox "News" contributor, so there is that.

      And the General assembly has its gerrymandered Republican faux-Christian teabagger majority all bought and paid for by the aforementioned Art Pope.

      Our state will be certifiably third-world within six months.

      "Bernie Madoff's mistake was stealing from the rich. If he'd stolen from the poor he'd have a cabinet position." -OPOL

      by blue in NC on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:14:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Uh (0+ / 0-)

    Why is this posted under "labor"?

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 12:26:40 PM PST

  •  I absolutely support it, even though (5+ / 0-)

    my Boston property taxes just went up $4,000 a year and my condo fees went up $1,200 a year.  Lowering sales tax helps low-income people who need it most...More power to Gov. Patrick!
    And who said people would never support taxing themselves more...some of us are glad to.
    And it's all deductible on federal income tax ;)
    I'm much happier about the proposed state changes than I am with the property taxes.  I'm more than happy to pay for schools, but less than happy to pay for repairing roads mostly driven by yahoos in SUVs who are doing their level best to kill me, day after day.

    •  I'm very pleased about the sales tax. When I (4+ / 0-)

      learned that some states charge a sales tax on food, it was surprising and saddening. The low sales tax may encourage people to eat out more, and buy prepared foods. Encouragement for that sector of the economy.

      Expansion of transportation to cover western portions of the state is overdue.

      Ending a special deduction for security and utility firms is good. Attention Attorney General Coakley: make sure the end of those deductions for utilities do not cause further layoffs or hits to the benefits of utility workers. & rate rises for all of us.

      2012-2016 President Obama, Vice President Biden, Senator Warren. For a LIFETIME, federal judges. Get the filibuster changed. Steamroll. http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

      by CuriousBoston on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:31:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A fair tax structure (8+ / 0-)

    should be at the top of all Democrats' priorities. For far too long Democrats have ceded the "tax" issue to Republicans, letting Republicans create the illusion that they are the only ones focused on the issue. What Democrats have not done such a good job on is pointing out how it is they, Democrats, who are most concerned about tax fairness.

    Democrats have no reason to fear the issue of Tax Fairness (i.e. ensuring the wealthy are not treated more favorably than anyone else when it comes to taxes). In fact, they should be more aggressive about it, in my opinion.

  •  Of course the only the thing the local stations . (9+ / 0-)

    focused on was the income tax hike, not the sales tax cut.

    •  The media is never good at multitasking. A very (5+ / 0-)

      simple graphic for each would explain them clearly. The comments at the town newspapers for the next few days should be interesting. I expect a statement from Scott Brown. His statement will be the equivalent of "no comment".

      2012-2016 President Obama, Vice President Biden, Senator Warren. For a LIFETIME, federal judges. Get the filibuster changed. Steamroll. http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

      by CuriousBoston on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:38:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  So... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    squarewheel, soros, Rich in PA

    ...here's my curmudgeonly question here (probably expected, coming from me).

    I hear a lot of ideas going on here. Some seem far more suited to a bond issue than a state income tax thing. Want high speed rail? We should issue a bond for it, etc. Patrick's plan here seems to be for a lot of one-time expenditures: why not just issue bonds?

    MAers might be willing to support this plan for specific plans, but how do we know that this 15% or so permanent increase in state taxes isn't going to get sucked back into state government salaries and pensions, or as local aid that ends up increasing local salaries and pensions with not a lot of extra services to go along with it?

    Us MA private sector workers are being asked to take a permanent pay cut in hard economic times. I want to know specifically what other workers and I are going to get out of this deal. "Education" isn't good enough. "High speed rail" isn't really good enough either. The state government is asking to increase in size by 10-15% or so, permanently. How is this plan going to benefit the private sector workers who pay all the bills? What specific, ongoing, recurring benefits am I going to see out of this major increase that couldn't just be done with bonds for which there is more accountability and a limited duration?

    The answer to this question is going to determine my support for this plan.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 03:08:32 PM PST

    •  The governor proposed specifics... (5+ / 0-)

      ...on what the money would be spent on.  That's good enough for me.  

      As to what we get.  An upgraded infrastructure (road & rail) and a better trained workforce, both of which will keep our state on the "high road to prosperity" (attract industries though a highly trained workforce and being a good place to live) rather than the "low road" (attract industries though cheap wages and lax standards).

      •  Again (0+ / 0-)

        Doesn't really answer the question. Need specifics before I can understand whether I like this idea or not. If your company was giving you a 1% pay cut you'd sure want to know why.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:22:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  as a longtime Green Line extension advocate (5+ / 0-)

      ... it would be fabulous if we could finally resolve this decades long struggled to honor the commitment to extend rail transportation to the northwest areas of Boston, through some of the more down in the heel neighborhoods in Somerville, to the Tufts University campus, all the way out to Route 16 @ Mystic Valley Parkway, which would serve Medford, Somerville, and Arlington residents.  

      The extension is a legal commitment -- the Conservation Law Foundation won that court battle -- and has to be built.  The question has always been when.  With these funds, it might be built within the next ten years.  Amen to that.  We've waited far too long.

      •  That I agree with (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NM Ward Chair

        Somerville needs to get the Green Line as agreed. That it hasn't been done already is a farce. The state agreed to do it.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:45:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  northwest areas of Boston? (0+ / 0-)

        at the time the red line went out to Davis Square, it was a low rent place where a lot of artists lived.  some friends of mine were renting an entire HOUSE for $900 a month and their rent tripled.

        Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
        Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:52:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Everyone pays taxes (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FogCityJohn, Mostel26

      including government workers, so what do you mean when you say "private sector workers pay all the bills"?  Are you implying that government contributes nothing to the economy? Does the private sector you talk about include non-profit organizations as well as for-profit businesses? What about the taxable income that wealthy investors get without having to work for it -- don't these non-workers help pay the bills and shouldn't they pay more of them? What about the income that corporate management gets not for actual work but for having power within the corporation so they can run up their compensation? Your remark is just a slam against the public sector and government workers that won't hold up to any kind of economic analysis.

      •  Business pays all the bills, all the time (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        squarewheel, soros, Not A Bot

        It pays for all government workers, all charity, all non-profits, all schools, hospitals, everything. The salary of government workers, even if taxes are taken out, come directly out of business.

        I'm not implying that government contributes nothing. Government makes significant contributions in many areas. Education, health, welfare, all good, necessary things. That are paid for by the efforts of for-profit businesses and their employees.

        Somalia survives without a government. Poorly, but it manages, because there is private economic activity going on. See what happens when your one factory leaves your town. Your local government is useless without it.

        You might think that I'm being right-wing here, but I'm not, it's just the simple truth of the matter. You might pay your kids a good allowance to mow the lawn or keep up the house, but it's Mom and Dad's jobs that pay all the bills, all the time.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:46:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why don't you move to Somalia, then? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mostel26

          Really, if government is such a parasite, you can go to a country that's more to your liking.  I hear Mogadishu is lovely this time of year.

          Oh, and BTW, the reason we might think you're being right-wing here is because you are being right-wing here.

          "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

          by FogCityJohn on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:57:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Somalia is not more to my liking (0+ / 0-)

            The discussion here is whether Mass state taxes are going to go up 20%, not whether we are going to wholesale dismantle the entire government.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 05:24:34 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Then why did you bring it up? (0+ / 0-)

              You mention Somalia to show how unnecessary government is.  When your stupid bluff is called, you do an about face and say the discussion isn't about Somalia.  

              BTW, why isn't Somalia to your liking?   Could it be that it lacks effective government?

              "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

              by FogCityJohn on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 01:39:59 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I mention Somalia... (0+ / 0-)

                ...as an example of a place that demonstrates that you don't really need a government, what you need is private sector economic activity.

                The government is a good thing, but it is only made possible by private economic productivity. I'd obviously rather live somewhere with a good or stable government than otherwise.

                Just like I'd rather have auto insurance than not. Doesn't mean I want to pay a lot for it, or pay for unnecessary services.

                (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                by Sparhawk on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 03:29:11 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  LOL! (0+ / 0-)

                  Yeah, Somalia is a GREAT example of how you don't really need a government.  The people there love it so much they're fleeing to such idyllic places as Ethiopia and Kenya.  

                  If you keep trying, I'm sure you can come up with some equally compelling examples as proof of your argument.  

                  "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

                  by FogCityJohn on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 12:16:45 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Why not Somalia? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk

            Probably for the same reason that people who are fond of government deciding things are not inspired to move to North Korea, where government does everything for you.

            We can have change for the better.

            by phillies on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 05:32:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh yeah. That's right. (0+ / 0-)

              A representative democracy deciding to increase taxes is EXACTLY like a repressive totalitarian dictatorship where people have no voice in government at all.

              "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

              by FogCityJohn on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 01:36:11 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  We live in a democratic, mixed economy, not (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mostel26, FogCityJohn

          some Randian fairy tale. Most infrastructure work is contracted out to private "business", so these company workers are being paid by the tax payer not "business".  Many large Mass employers are heavily reliant on federal contracts (particularly military [think Raytheon, GE]) again funded by the tax payer. To paraphrase: taxes are the price we pay to live in a civilized society, not some dysfunctional, feudal warlord state.

          •  Perhaps (0+ / 0-)

            But I don't think we'll live in a dysfunctional, feudal warlord state if Mass state taxes aren't increased 20%. I am just interested in understanding what exactly is being proposed in exchange for the money.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 05:33:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Perhaps (0+ / 0-)

              but I was being no more histrionic than your assertion of business as sole source of funding, or that your taxes were increasing 20%. According to the state office of Administration and Finance, a current tax payer making yearly between $60K ($63K is Mass avg annual income) and approx. $103K would see a $400 increase in his or her combined income tax and sales taxes (that are being reduced) under the governor's proposal. The proposal is a well conceived attempt to make the current regressive Mass. tax structure more progressive within the confines of the state constitution's graduated income tax prohibition. I do agree the gov has to flesh out some specifics as to where the increased revenues will go, but his broad declaration of investments into education and infrastructure is a good start.

              •  Thanks for the discussion (0+ / 0-)

                20% is overstating it, I agree, but 6.3/5.3 = 18.8%. Take the lowered sales tax out and saying, say, 10% is not unreasonable, right?

                As for the 'business paying for everything', you think I'm taking an extreme position. I am not. It's self-evident. If your town has one factory and it packs up and leaves, the whole town is wrecked. The town has lost 100% of its income. All hospitals, schools, local government institutions, parks, whatever, all gone.

                Same for a state. There is more business, not just one factory as in my hypothetical example, but the dynamic is the same. As business leaves (or enters) the state, the state's fortunes rise and fall accordingly.

                Business pays for everything. There is not a single source of other revenue.

                (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                by Sparhawk on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 08:12:02 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Workers pay the bills (0+ / 0-)

          All wealth is created by labor. Both taxes and profits derive from the labor of workers. Moreover, workers for the state are not much different from workers for private businesses in this regard; public assets such as Route 128 and a clean and safe environment are also forms of wealth.

        •  sorry about the delayed response (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sparhawk

          but I've been away from my computer for a while. I appreciate your effort to respond, but your claim that only for-profit businesses "pay" for everything just doesn't hold up and there is no serious economic writer I am aware of who makes this claim. The key point is that money is a measure of value and whatever people do that contributes to the public well-being has value. By your standard, private for-profit schools are the source of monetary value but public schools add only non-monetary value. Public sector workers are not children being paid by Mom and Dad, that's a pretty offensive formulation. Government workers do everything that private sector workers do and visa versa, although you probably wouldn't like to replace the army with private militias or the local fire departments with private for-profit fire companies that let your house burn down if you were behind in your payments.

          Let's take a simple example. Government builds a bridge and then charges tolls for it. A private company builds a bridge and charge tolls for it. In both cases the users pay for the bridge. After a certain period of time, the bridge is paid for. Under completely private ownership the tolls continue and go to provide dividends to stockholders. Under government ownership sometimes the tolls are ended or reduced to the level necessary to maintain the bridge, and the bridge becomes a contribution to everyone else's standard of living, or they might use the tolls to subsidize transit to lower congestion on the freeway and over the bridge, so users can go faster. Government provides water and sewer service, roads, schools, firefighters and police and people pay property taxes to get these services instead of paying for them on a fee for service basis. Garbage is picked up some places by private for-profit companies and sometimes by government. The way I see it, government and the non-profit sector provide the most important things in life -- public safety, education, disease control and hospitals, roads, etc. that allow people to focus on the consumer goods provided by the for-profit sector. Thanks for your attention. Best wishes and may the new year be more peaceful than the last.

    •  You don't pay all the bills. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mostel26, Subterranean
      How is this plan going to benefit the private sector workers who pay all the bills?
      I know it's hard for wingers like you to understand, but those of us who work in the public sector pay taxes too.  I realize to the Republican-inclined such as yourself, our jobs aren't "real," but the tax money comes out of my paycheck the same way it comes out of yours.

      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

      by FogCityJohn on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:55:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tax money comes out of public paychecks... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        soros

        ...it is true, but it also goes into those paychecks in the first place. Private businesses don't have tax money going in (ignoring government contractors, who are just extensions of the government).

        That's the difference. If taxes were increased (hypothetically) to give public sector raises, private employees get a pay cut while public ones get a raise. Public employees would be very pleased to pay the 'increased' taxes. Private workers take a pay cut.

        They are not the same at all for this reason.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 05:22:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You see this as a zero-sum game where (0+ / 0-)

          money, somewhere along the line, just evaporates into thin air. Where do the increased wages of any worker, public or private, get spent?

          (-2.38, -3.28) Independent thinker

          by TrueBlueDem on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:34:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Who cares (0+ / 0-)

            The net result is still a loss. It's like saying that paying high auto insurance prices is a good idea: hell, auto insurance employees spend money too, right?

            Government services are just another cost like auto insurance and come with a price tag. Like anything else in your whole life that you buy, you'd rather pay less than more, and you'd rather cut extraneous services that you might not need.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 03:15:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Pretty faulty comparison (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sparhawk

              The distribution of revenues of a private company are highly concentrated among a few individuals (executives and shareholders much moreso than employees) within a few distinct locations (the company's footprint), whereas the federal government is distributing 100% of revenues across the entire country. And your choice of the insurance industry (legalized gambling) is one that does not produce any tangible assets for its customers, very unlike the federal government.

              (-2.38, -3.28) Independent thinker

              by TrueBlueDem on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 03:01:31 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Again (0+ / 0-)

                Meaningless.

                Look up "Broken Window Fallacy" to demonstrate why pointless spending of money is a bad thing, regardless of the distribution.

                Government is a cost and a thing you pay for. It's like anything else: you pay a price and you get a service. The only valid question is: is what I'm getting worth the price I am paying? And can I get this thing more cost effectively from another provider?

                All the questions about employment is meaningless. The government's job is to provide services to people who don't work for the government, just like Burger King's job is to provide services for people who don't work at Burger King.

                (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                by Sparhawk on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 04:10:13 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Subjective points (0+ / 0-)

                  but it's hard to argue against getting your money's worth for your taxes in this country, considering our quality of life and the taxation paid by others with similar living standards. There is also very little in the way of evidence of the private sector providing essential public services of high quality for lower cost, certainly as far as health insurance, prisons, or schooling is concerned. Government is a) far more accountable overall, through direct popular elections of its top leaders and b) has an unparalleled economy of scale.

                  (-2.38, -3.28) Independent thinker

                  by TrueBlueDem on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 02:11:54 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Private sector schooling includes most of the top (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Sparhawk

                    Universities in the US, the quality of education from the Ivy League, Stanford, MIT, etc are extremely high by global standards.  The President and many if not most Democrats in Congress send their children to private schools while public education spending per student in Washington DC is the highest in the nation.

                    Most instances of public housing are quite bleak.

                    With rare exception the top hospitals in the US are private.

                    I think the argument that there is greater accountability for government institutions is wrong.  In most cities dominated by one party rule the accountability of government services is much weaker than where customers, patients, and students have to choice to use another provider.

                    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                    by nextstep on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 04:25:51 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Re (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    nextstep

                    Thank you for your interest in this topic.

                    Government is a) far more accountable overall, through direct popular elections of its top leaders and b) has an unparalleled economy of scale.
                    Accountability?

                    In the private sector, there is the ultimate accountability because you can just stop paying for whatever and use a different vendor. Government is good in places where you can't do this because of economy-of-scale problems or "can't do it profitably" problems.

                    Re your examples. There is no such thing as a "private" prison. All prisons are public prisons. They might be subcontracted by the state, but whether the state operates the prison or a private company does is not really relevant. Any problem with a private company is because the state government doesn't regulate it well enough (just like public prisons). The state writes the contract and enforces compliance.

                    It's the same thing with other functions like cleaning government buildings. In some cases, hiring state cleaning employees would work. In others, just hire the same company that cleans all the other corporate buildings in the city. The private company actually has more of an economy of scale!

                    Re schooling and hospitals, nextstep provides some context here. Suffice to say that there are arguments for both models.

                    My general point is: public or private models need to be adopted with an eye to cost-benefit and need to serve the people by providing the most services for the lowest cost, and not providing services that are useless or are better provided by the private sector.

                    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                    by Sparhawk on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 05:58:49 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Um, no. (0+ / 0-)

          See, when taxes go up for you oh-so-precious private sector workers, my taxes go up too.  So I take that same "pay cut."

          Like most right wingers, you completely ignore that private sector businesses and their profits are ONLY possible because of government.  The public sector educates the workers, provides the necessary infrastructure, protects you and your property from theft and harm, insures your bank deposits, and gives you a means of enforcing private agreements.  

          So please, either adjust your grossly inflated sense of self-importance or just go Galt.  I'd hate to see you continue to suffer such oppression from all of us lazy Takers.

          "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

          by FogCityJohn on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 01:33:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  too deeply bonded (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FogCityJohn

      Massachusetts has relied too much on bonds in the past and we have, I believe, one of the highest per capita bond debts in the nation.

      Patrick's plan is both a realistic and bold plan to pay for what we want and need and the blueprint to continue the Bay State tradition of leading the nation. As a state, we are at or near the top in income, education, health, transportation, etc.  This is how we do it.

      There is an almost one-to-one relationship between "blueness" and success and we are the blue-est of the blue. You get what you pay for.

  •  Meanwhile, in Kansas, (6+ / 0-)

    the guvernator is proposing to get rid of corporate income (I think) tax and institute a program of wishing and hoping that the money will magically flow into economic growth. Never mind that the program as I heard it described on the radio sounded like something that would be hugely regressive and hit the poorest the hardest.

    We are often so identified with whatever thoughts we may be having that we don’t realize the thoughts are a commentary on reality, and not reality itself. -- Gangaji

    by Mnemosyne on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 07:03:15 PM PST

    •  Sounds like Jindal's Brainfart in Louisiana nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NM Ward Chair, mon

      I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

      by JML9999 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 07:26:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rec'd, especially for your sig line. n/t (0+ / 0-)

      The sh*t those people [republicans] say just makes me weep for humanity! - Woody Harrelson

      by SoCalSal on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:03:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  GOP Economic thought on poverty: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gordon20024

      If you get rid of poor people, you get rid of poverty.

      And GOP babies take dry baths.

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:06:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Looks an awful lot like the NC GOP Plan (0+ / 0-)
      RALEIGH Republican lawmakers outlined a proposal Wednesday to revamp the state’s tax system, offering a slew of reforms that would radically shift the tax burden in North Carolina.

      The proposal would eliminate personal and corporate income taxes in exchange for higher state sales taxes levied against groceries, medical expenses and other currently tax-free services.

      Personal and corporate income taxes make up 60% of the state $20 billion in annual revenue. In their place, we get:
      • Eliminating all 318 existing tax breaks in the state’s tax code, which account for $9 billion in revenue. The breaks cover everything from motor vehicle taxes to prescription drugs and insulin to sales taxes paid by nonprofits.

      • Generating $12.9 billion in new revenue by increasing the 6.75 percent combined sales tax rate levied in most of the state to an 8.05 percent combined state and local tax rate.

      The higher rate would apply to all goods and services – including those currently exempt from taxes, such as lottery tickets, haircuts, dentist visits, housekeeping and lawyers’ fees.

      One major increase would be the sales tax on groceries. It currently sits at 2 percent but would increase to 8 percent.

      http://www.charlotteobserver.com/...

      Bottom line - replace income taxes with sales taxes on everything, including food, prescription drugs, dental visits, etc. It's the Republican way.

      Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

      by bear83 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:55:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Isn't it interesting that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dalearden1942, divineorder

    when you consider all the demonstrations, protests, and rallies against state governments over the past few years:  All have been from red states.

    Expect any protests against this?  Nope.  No signs, no angry mobs.  

    This is how government is supposed to work!

    ----- "Something 'D.O.O.' Economics...? Voo-Doo Economics?"

    by shornby on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 07:12:59 PM PST

  •  Can't wait (0+ / 0-)

    For the blowback. It's coming when you shift the burden people feel they're being asked to shoulder.

  •  This confuses me...I have thought of Mass (0+ / 0-)

    as a well-managed, well-funded state, the polar opposite of my own Illinois.  I sure don't recall Massachusetts being in the bottom tier of states for tax collections.

    What gives?

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 07:40:09 PM PST

    •  A major backlash in the late 70s (0+ / 0-)

      and 80s ("Taxachusetts") led to a string of GOP governors and one Conservadem (Ed King) sandwiching Mike Dukakis's second tour of duty. During that period Massachusetts has fallen to middle of the pack in terms of taxes.

      There are plenty of people, fueled by conservative media, who don't see the state as "well-managed." (read up on the Big Dig, and the quality of our roads is atrocious).

      Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 04:59:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, I remember the Big Dig. (0+ / 0-)

        We have some family in Massachusetts, and, um, heard a thing or two.

        Maybe it's a function of going on visits instead of living there, but I had the impression that your roads were OK, but your drivers...Yikes!

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:08:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  "taxachusetts" was a lie used against Dukakis (0+ / 0-)

        Even then we were not at the taxation top by any means, when you consider per capita taxation as a per cent of per capita income. Because we are a rich state, we each pay more taxes, but we also make more than people in Mississippi.

        Also, our taxes have been progressive relative to other states. Our sales tax does not apply to basics like food and clothing and we have an income tax.  This bothers those who complain about taxes a lot more than the same amount of taxation that taxes everyone 8% on food (see NC discussion above)

        •  The lie was perpetuated (0+ / 0-)

          on the front page of yesterday's Herald. For some people the facts don't matter as much as pushing their agenda, and sadly plenty of people here (and everywhere) fall for it.

          Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

          by fenway49 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:41:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I can't wait (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Samer

    for the comparison of the Deval economy and the Jindal economy...GNP, HS grad rate, median income and all the good stuff.

  •  Take that, Chris Christie. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NM Ward Chair, TrueBlueMajority, mon

    Mass is going to take off like a rocket.  This is a budget to launch a presidential campaign on.

    "And now we know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob." -- FDR

    by Mogolori on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 07:42:46 PM PST

    •  omg two black presidents in a row? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FogCityJohn

      then it will be Cory Booker's turn.

      racists will be sitting in their rocking chairs saying, damn, first the NBA and now the White House.  You kids don't remember this but at one time ALL the presidents were white!

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:54:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I doubt it (0+ / 0-)

      The tax plan is OK; but look under the covers of his retiree health care pension reform and you get some reform and some Mitt Romney style screwing workers out of promised benefits.  Deval is heading back to the private sector to make some money and that is OK by me.  What is not OK is eliminating benefits that I was previously promised by the Commonwealth.  Not reducing, which I admit is called for, but eliminating.   Maybe he needs to burnish his cost-cutting credientials to secure a big enough position.  I just wish I wasn't one of the ones that will take a hit for his ambition.

      I doubt he runs for President, I'm not even sure he like politics that much.  His stint on the Board of subprime lender Ameriquest during the boom is a major problem.  

  •  An investment with a return 40 year from now (6+ / 0-)

    is in the education for our children. They are the future.

    Good on Governor Deval patrick.

    An honest heart being the first blessing, a knowing head is the second..Jefferson's Letter to Peter Carr

    by JugOPunch on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 07:46:59 PM PST

  •  Wimped out on fuel (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mostel26, dangnewt

    Patrick's plan gets points for progressivity, given that we have a constitutional ban on a progressive income tax.  Raising the rate with a bigger personal exemption is still sort of progressive.

    The sales tax reduction recognizes that online sales aren't taxed, and we lose purchases to New Hampshire.  Amazon had to start collecting sales tax here now that they have a development office; lower sales taxes could attract more such companies.  But earmarking 100% of the sales tax to two purposes is a silly gimmick. Money is fungible, and we have a lot of needs.

    What's sad is that he wimped out again on the gas tax. He floated that a couple of years ago and the legislature didn't go along; that's when the sales tax went from 5 to 6.25 percent.  Since the emphasis this year is on transportation, he should press the issue.  Nobody "wants" more gas taxes -- 83% disapprove in a recent poll -- but nobody wants more of any tax.  Higher taxes on fuel are directly related to road use.  Fuel taxes in Massachusetts are very low.  Not New Jersey low, but way below NY and CT.  On trips to the NY area, I tank up here and often get back before needing fuel.  On trips to or beyond NJ, I tank up there.  This is silly, though -- a 10c hike in gas would still leave us well below NY and CT and nobody would notice it given the volatility in prices.

    30 years ago we heard that low gas taxes were progressive because poor people drove old 1974 gas-guzzling jalopies.  But c'mon, that's over.  People can choose smaller or fuel-efficient cars, new or used; people can often choose to live closer to work, next time they move. Fuel subsidies (the tax doesn't cover the direct cost of roads) encourage wasting energy and driving extra-large vehicles.  Patrick should stand up to the SUV lobby, raise the gax tax, and lower his proposed income tax rate from 6.25 to maybe 5.9%.

    •  tied to inflation (0+ / 0-)

      he's asking for the gas tax to be tied to inflation. It's a start

      •  Should have tied back farther (0+ / 0-)

        It's a start, but it should have been indexed to inflation since the last increase a couple of decades ago, so there'd be a big boost now.  That would have at least provided cover for the increase.  Also, better fuel economy since then means more wear and tear per mile driven, which justifies higher per-gallon rates.

  •  A Dem with a plan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, Matt Z

    Such a pleasure to see.  

    Are the days of cowering and trying not to say what we believe coming to an end?

    Stand up to the R Congressional majority, stand up to the NRA, stand up to the Tax Haters?  

    What next?  

    The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief. -- Shakespeare

    by not2plato on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:33:44 PM PST

  •  Voters in every state get pummeled with anti-tax (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JBraden, Matt Z

    propaganda from right-wing radio stations and their jackass listeners who compulsively regurgitate the spew in the lunchroom at work.

    We need to support courageous governors like Jerry Brown and Deval Patrick with some grassroots "good tax" and "fair tax" sloganeering of our own. Here's my bumper-sticker:

    Freedom isn't free...
    That's why patriots pay their taxes!

    Have you noticed?
    Politicians who promise LESS government
    only deliver BAD government.

    by jjohnjj on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:00:02 PM PST

  •  i luv my guv! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:50:03 PM PST

  •  Is the tax hike graduated.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fenway49

    ...between the $400 and $3200 groups?

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 03:08:16 AM PST

    •  We cannot have a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rich in PA

      progressive income tax because of a century-old provision in the state constitution and its century-old interpretation by the courts. Mass. is one of only 7 states, I think, that has an income tax but a flat one.

      But the way the plan works is to do it through the back door by doubling the personal exemption. You'll pay a higher rate, but on less of your income. The percentage of one's income that is exempt will do down on a gradual slope as income goes up, so the answer is yes.

      For a single person, the exemption would double from $4400 to $8800. I ran some numbers: with taxable income of $25,000, a single person would pay $174 less per year in income tax. A single person with TI of $65K pays $30 less. About $75K you start to pay more. But a single person with $100K pays only $113 more per year, less than $10 per month. At $250K, a single person is paying $635 more. The higher you go, the more the hit.

      For a couple filing jointly, the exemptions are flat-out double the single exemption. So a couple making a combined $150K just about breaks even compared to our current scheme. Caveat: there are proposals to eliminate some itemized deductions, so the income tax increase on people above $75K/couples above $150K might turn out a bit higher than I've highlighted. But note that there's also a proposal to reduce sales tax, so any increase may be offset by that. It's really at the top levels of income, well over $200K, that you start to notice a real difference.

      In the 80s our courts struck down a plan that would be "progressive" by applying a flat rate, but different exemption levels for different income brackets. Under this proposal the rate is uniform and so is the exemption. But as a practical matter having $4400 in income now tax-exempt is a big deal to a low-income person. It is chump change to a high-income person, who will have most of his/her income subject to the higher rate.

      I've been involved in small ways in pushing this kind of plan. It raises much-needed revenue while putting the burden on the wealthiest here. Due to the flat tax of only 5.3%, the top earners really skate here compared to other states. I know: when I lived in NYC and was in a top bracket, my state income tax rate was nearly 8% and another 3.65% for city income tax on top. That's nearly double Massachusetts, and sales tax there approached 9% as well. Compared to that, people making $250K in Massachusetts can well afford 5.66% offset by a lower (4%) sales tax.

      Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 05:22:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Apologies (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rich in PA

      My numbers were based on another version of the proposal, where the hike is to 5.66%. Gov. Patrick proposed 6.25%. That makes the numbers for a single person with taxable income:

      $25K: -$79/yr
      $65K: +$300/yr ($25 per month)
      $105K: +680/yr ($57 per month)
      $250K: +2058/yr ($171 per month)
      $400K: +3483/yr ($290 per month)

      Remember, still offset by sales tax dropping from 6.25% to 4.5%.

      Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 05:36:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Then I'm all for it! (0+ / 0-)

        The numbers in the diary would have done the thing conservatives say all taxation does but it hardly ever does, which is to alter earning decisions.

        You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

        by Rich in PA on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:02:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Our Subway System is Terrible (0+ / 0-)

    I would be paying considerably more taxes under this plan.  If a substantial amount of the revenue generated was devoted toward upgrading/replacing/extending our public transportation system, I would gladly pay that money.

    I go to work on the Red Line of our subway system in Boston.  This line I would consider the 'best' of our subway system, because the trains travel fairly fast and there aren't a million stops.  But even so, I would guess about one out of every ten trips or so gets significantly delayed and we are told, "Sorry for the delay, there is a disabled train."  Sometimes you'll end up waiting for 45 minutes under ground, just sitting there.  Fun.

    Our subway system also shuts down just before midnight every night.  A friend told me that the reason for this is that they have to send work crews onto the tracks every night to fix all the crap that got broken that day.

    •  Your subway system (0+ / 0-)

      refers to only one urban area in the Commonwealth.

      We can have change for the better.

      by phillies on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 05:35:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right (0+ / 0-)

        The subway in the greater Boston area is the piece of the public transportation system that I use the most and have personal experience with.

        I have no doubt that the public transportation throughout the rest of the state needs substantial improvements and expansion as well, but I don't have any personal experience there.  I'm a big fan of pretty much any infrastructure spending, across the board.

    •  Blame the Big Dig (0+ / 0-)

      A lot of Big Dig debt was somehow laid on the shoulders of the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the public transit agency for greater Boston). Money that might have gone for maintenance of way or to replace 40-year-old equipment has instead been paying for highway debt.

      The Big Dig is evil. It was vetoed by Ronald Reagan in one of his few moments of sanity; then Congress overrode his veto (unless I misremember, it was the only Reagan veto overridden by Congress).

  •  A start (0+ / 0-)

    While I don't live in MA, I would save $100 per year based on my last salary before being unemployed.  While that might not be a huge sum of money, it is an extra $100 in my pocket,  those earning over $100k need to pay more, that is top tier income in my book, and a few extra thousand dollars in taxes will not hurt these folks.  Once these plans are in place, Gov Patrick needs to revisit them and increase the amount these top earners pay.  

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