Gov. Patrick Urges Lawmakers To OK Tax Hike

BOSTON — The day after House Speaker Robert DeLeo called for scaling back Gov. Deval Patrick’s ambitious tax and spending plan, the governor on Friday defended his goals in a rare legislative committee appearance, while also voicing openness to compromise.

It was the final budget hearing by the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, after a weeks-long tour of the state. Patrick restated the case for increasing spending on transportation and education by nearly $2 billion. That’s along with raising taxes and fees to make it possible.

“Because all the evidence points to the fact that making these investments means jobs and opportunity,” he said.

Many lawmakers support the governor’s goals, but many also are wary of the price tag. On Thursday, DeLeo bluntly told business leaders that Patrick’s plan would be scaled back.

At the hearing, Patrick responded.

“I have acknowledged from the outset that there is room to debate the means, more than one way to, as they say, skin the cat,” Patrick said. “I do think it’s important to start by agreeing on the ends instead of starting with the means and backing ourselves into half a cat.”

But Sen. Marc Pacheco, of Taunton, warned that a voter backlash could cost Democrats their seats — as well as the governor’s office — as what happened when Dukakis-era tax hikes led to tax repeal petitions and a 16-year reign of Republican governors.

“We could very well be heading down that very same road, depending upon how engaged the citizens are and how much they believe in what is going on,” Pacheco said. “And sometimes the only way to get that kind of understanding is through a statewide comprehensive dialogue that takes place in the form of a referendum campaign.”

Patrick, who has said repeatedly that he does not plan to run for-re-election, acknowledged that a repeal petition would be likely. But he opposed putting his plan on the ballot now. He said voters are responding to his vision of “generational responsibility.”

“So I hope we will not punt — not that. I hope we won’t put this off,” he said.

House versions of the transportation financing plan and overall state budget are expected to be released next month.

This post was updated with the All Things Considered feature version.

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  • X-Ray

    It seems the Democrats at State and Federal level are addicted to spending money
    they don’t have. They call it an “investment” but we never get a return on it.
    Note that most of out taxes are rates; the amount collected goes up
    automatically with pay raises and inflation. So what the Governor is talking
    about is about 2 billion additional dollars in spending.

  • sjw81

    i have a better idea than the usuall raising taxes on us in the middle class once again…how about raising it on liberty mutual and fidelity and get rid of movie producer tax breaks and loopholes? how about cutting the waste and corrption in the state gov first like at the probation dept, the housing authority, the do nothing jobs like drunk transportation or lying pharmacy regulators? how about the staffs and salaries of all those govt workers and legislature? how about those judges not enforcing the law, or mandating sex changes for murderers? how about just shut it all down, see if we notice…

    • Lawrence

      You’re absolutely right. I wonder why this common sense approach was never mentioned in any debate or discussion?

      TO DO: Raise these concerns with our congressmen and women. MAKE THE CALL to make a difference.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      maybe its time to ax those state drug labs

  • Lawrence

    It’s a sneaky way to extort more money from the working class while giving it all away to those corporations that funded their campaigns. NO NEW TAXES

  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

    he never saw a tax he did not like. imagine how much he can help his campaign contributers and ensure he has a nice private sector job with all the contracts a massive spending boondoggle would creatse

  • X-Ray

    Taxachusetts living up to its name and reputation.

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