In his Feb. 8 op-ed “Patrick’s plan too ambitious for the times,” Scot Lehigh writes that Governor Patrick’s proposed tax plan “doesn’t reflect the tough choices that tight times require.” However, I would argue that the shortfall in tax revenue to fund necessary transportation infrastructure and maintenance and to adequately fund education is not the result of hard times but rather the result of more than 15 years of Republican governors cutting needed revenues.
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center shows the correlation between recent budget shortfalls and cuts in taxes and other revenue sources in the decade and a half before the first Patrick administration.
The spending that the governor is proposing is prudent, modest, and necessary. We could fund it if we undid the damage of years of irresponsible refusal to ask all to pay their fair share of what we need to finance the common good.
Contrary to Lehigh’s conclusion, the governor is showing bold leadership in asking us to assess fairly the cost of those public necessities required to maintain the good quality of life we have in Massachusetts.
It’s time those who don’t want to pay their fair share start carrying more of the load. This is the tough choice the times require.