March 9, 2013

Bay State governor calls for tax increase

The Associated Press

BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick is again urging lawmakers to adopt his plan to raise taxes by nearly $2 billion dollars to pay for improvements in education and transportation, dismissing proposals to raise the gas tax instead as insufficient and unfair.

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Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick

Patrick testified at a public hearing Friday that the extra money in his plan is needed to ensure the state's long-term economic prosperity, in part by guaranteeing Massachusetts students access to early education and affordable college.

He said his proposal will turn out the workers needed to fill the jobs in the state's increasingly high tech economy, pointing out that about 30,000 children are currently on waiting lists for early education programs in Massachusetts.

"Brainpower is our signature economic edge, and failing to invest in that in Massachusetts would be like Texas failing to support the oil industry or Iowa their corn farmers," Patrick told lawmakers.

Patrick's proposal would hike the state income tax from 5.25 percent to 6.25 percent, while lowering the sales tax from 6.25 to 4.5 percent.

He said under his plan families earning less than $62,000 a year would pay essentially the same or less in taxes.

The proposal has met with skepticism on Beacon Hill.

On Thursday, House Speaker Robert DeLeo called for a much smaller tax package, saying he wants to address critical needs while avoiding any "collateral damage" to the state's economy.

DeLeo told the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce that he is worried the administration's proposal would put too heavy a burden on working families and businesses.


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