Patrick: We Need to Increase Income Tax to Invest in Our Future

Tell us: do you think we need to increase taxes to strengthen education and transportation?

In his State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday night, Gov. Deval Patrick proposed raising the state's income tax by 1 percentage point and lowering the sales tax to pay for $2 billion in transportation improvements and early childhood education programs. 

"There is no good time to raise taxes," Patrick said. "I know how tough the times have been on the people and families of the Commonwealth.  And though the worst of the recession is over, many, many families still face tough decisions and have deep anxiety about the future. I would not ask if I did not believe in my heart that investing meaningfully today in education and transportation will significantly improve our economic tomorrows."


Income tax hiked to 6.25 percent

Patrick said he wanted a more fair and comprehensive tax system that lowers the sales tax to 4.5 percent and raises the income tax to 6.25 percent. He added that he wants the proceeds to be dedicated to a public works fund that will support the transportation plan. 

"Under my plan, sales tax proceeds would be off limits for any other purpose," Patrick said.

To make the burden lighter on those who make less money, the governor said he'd like to double the personal exemptions and eliminate a number of itemized deductions.


Hike to Be Spent on Education and Transportation

The proposed tax hike seeks to pay for $2 billion in education and transportation improvement the governor wants.

The education spending would include funding high-quality early education and K-12 education, investment in public colleges and universities, and the re-invigoration of the MassGrants scholarship program.

For transportation improvements, the governor envisions "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 or 2 in the morning." He also spoke of faster commuter rails, a Green Line that goes to Medford, commuter lines that reached the western part of the state and an improved highway system. 

"The people we work for want the schools I have described; they want the rail and road services we have laid out; and above all they want the opportunity and growth these investments will bring.  We on their behalf have choices to make. I choose growth," Patrick said.

What do you think? Is the choice between higher taxes and growth, and lower taxes and stagnation? Do you support the tax increase? Tell us in the comments below.

gumshoe January 19, 2013 at 06:18 PM
You need to know that politics is a game and we are being betrayed and played in the worst way.
Rich January 20, 2013 at 12:53 AM
Deval is playing this like someone on a pawn shop show, you ask for a 1000 but you'll take 500.. He knows he's not going to get his full price, but he will make you feel like you got the better deal paying half...wake up people...
Saber Walsh January 20, 2013 at 04:52 AM
It's actually the psychology of politics. My ancestors, from the time they stepped off the boat, were all Democrats -- and my octogenarian relatives vote Democrat because they always have and are afraid their sainted parents will come back to haunt them if they don't (if that's not a lingering vestige, I don't know what is). What is really strange is that most Catholics I know are Democrats, and yet don't think that their conscience makes any difference when it comes to how they vote -- in other words, just like the "old folks," it's how they always voted (maybe until recently -- there's a lot of scratched-off "Obama-Biden" stickers in the parking lot of late). The candidates are all local: while we may have a person on the school committee who probably can't read, and insists that the school budget is fine if "da Super says so" (so he probably can't do math, either), people will vote for him because "he's a good guy!" instead of ever wondering how he got a high school diploma.
Saber Walsh January 20, 2013 at 04:54 AM
Didn't Machiavelli say, "Forget god and do what is politically expedient?"
Pamela Jaynes January 21, 2013 at 12:06 AM
So much corruption at all levels of spending. Increasing taxes is not the answer. Guess Duval didn't hear the president when he said "no tax increases for the middle class" Yeah right. Politicians just squander the money away from hard working people who have jobs, pay their taxes, and now struggle to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. This state and country is doomed. Too many people believe it is the government's responsibility to take care of them. And they think it's free. Good god.


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