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Gov. Deval Patrick has repeatedly said he has no plans for state tax increases, but said Monday he has no problem with the Bush administration tax cuts expiring next month - or the federal tax increases they would trigger for all taxpayers.
"I've been following some of the stuff from the deficit-reduction commission, and I think their view is that, as unpleasant as it may be for us to say so and to acknowledge it, we may not be able to afford those tax cuts," Patrick told reporters as he entered his weekly meeting with Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo.
"If we really are serious about reducing the deficit, then we're going to have to get serious about the conversation," the governor added.
Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson and the commission they led didn't directly speak to ending the tax cuts, but they say the entire federal code needs to be ripped up by its roots if the country is to resolve its annual deficit and long-term debt.
The plan calls for sweeping tax changes that would affect millions of Americans, including trimming or doing away with many popular tax breaks, such as the home mortgage deduction. It would also make deep cuts in military spending, slash the federal work force, raise the retirement age for full Social Security benefits and make cuts in Medicare.
It aims to reduce federal red ink by nearly $4 trillion within a decade.
Last week, only 11 of the commission's 18 members voted to force Congress to consider the plan, when 14 votes were necessary. Now Obama is negotiating a deal with Senate leaders to temporarily extend the cuts.
The governor sounded disappointed.
"There seems to be a compromise now, at least according to this morning's news, so that train may have left the station," Patrick said, before recalling the commission recommended a blend of both tax change and spending cuts.
This program aired on December 7, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.
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