Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo are saying the same sort of stuff we hear every time there's a proposal to tax the rich more, tax corporations more, or give workers a better deal. In translation, it goes like this: "Oh, the economy is bad, so rather than investing in making it better, let's let it keep sucking because big donors are telling us they don't want to pay more. Also, we think our constituents are too stupid to realize that shifting the tax burden toward the wealthiest is a good deal for most of them."
As Patrick detailed in the opening minutes of his press conference on the legislative leadership's plan (video above), it would provide enough funding only for the most short-term, not-falling-behind transportation needs, rather than moving the state's transportation system forward in any way, and would do so through taxes that would hit working- and middle-class people most directly while not adequately addressing the state's needs:
The DeLeo-Murray plan leans on cigarette and tobacco, gasoline and business taxes to pull in revenue designed to avert near-term MBTA fare hikes, stop paying for personnel with bond funds, and to shore up regional transit authorities.Education, meanwhile, is completely shafted. Because when you have one of the best education systems in the country, I guess you might as well quit and not bother to invest in it anymore?
Transportation Secretary Richard Davey on Wednesday predicted the DeLeo-Murray plan, if adopted, would force higher transportation fares, fees and tolls and could require the state to pick up the full cost of the $1.3 billion Green Line extension, a project state officials hope will be funded with a 50-50 state/federal funding split.
A legislature as heavily Republican as the Massachusetts legislature is Democratic would not be hesitating to raise taxes on poor and middle-class families, lower taxes on corporations and the wealthiest people, and call it a giant tax break for everyone—never mind all those cuts to services. But the Massachusetts legislative leadership is too something—too frightened of the tax-and-spend label, too beholden to a few donors, too out of touch to realize that raising taxes on the highest earners is something that's been discussed extensively on the national scene and actually has a lot of popular support—to do the right thing for the state and put forward a bill that would see lower-income people paying a little less while raising enough money overall to make serious investments in transportation and education that would create jobs, improve the business climate by making it easier to move goods and services around the state, improve the already excellent education kids are getting in the state, and then make it a little more affordable for them to attend college. Apparently that's just crazy talk.