BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick will tour the state Friday to make his case for raising taxes and fees to invest in education and infrastructure.
The governor’s budget proposal, unveiled in mid-January, calls for raising the state income tax, lowering the state sales tax, and gradually increasing the gas tax, tolls and MBTA fares. His proposals could raise almost $2 billion in additional revenue, and he says they represent a fairer way to structure the tax system.
We spoke with the governor Thursday about why he’s taking on such proposals now.
On why now is the time for his revenue-raising proposals: There’s no right time, I mean the right time would’ve been, you know, 20 years ago. There’s no good time, no perfect time to talk about tax increases and paying more.
I do think that there is a valid point that members of the public have had about making sure that the nonsense and the waste and the duplication and so forth is squeezed out of government and frankly no administration has the record we do in making progress there. And I can point to things like shutting down the Turnpike Authority to ending the pension abuses at the T and elsewhere in state government.
What needs to happen after so many years of letting our transportation infrastructure fall into decay or tolerating the kind of achievement gaps that we have in communities where kids are poor or speak English as a second language or are of special needs. That’s all come to roost now and we need to deal with that now and we couldn’t in big ways in the worst of the recession, and now we’re coming out of it and we have to.
On Massachusetts’ standing as a state that attracts business: … People in the business community want and need efficient, modern ways to get to and from work. They need efficient, modern and safe ways to get to and from school. And it’s not just going to appear out of the mist. What we have right now was deeded to us by a previous generation that decided they needed to invest not just in their time, but for a generation to come. And it seems to me it’s time for our generation to step up and do the same thing.
On room for legislative compromise in his budget proposals: Don’t ask me to bargain against myself, Bob. [Laughs] After six years in the job, I fully appreciate that rarely has there been anything I’ve sent to the Legislature that’s come back to me exactly in the form I sent it.