THE GOVERNOR waited until his seventh year in office to propose this massive increase in transportation spending, and now has limited political clout to push his proposals through. He, of course, doesn’t have to run for reelection, but legislators do. And legislators are unwilling to speak the truth about the connection between taxes and services and infrastructure to their constituents. Rather, they play to the no-new-taxes chorus.
In addition, the Legislature has essentially ignored the governor’s other proposals to invest more in public education, particularly early education. This is foolhardy. There must be a level playing field for all children. Many of the poorest start falling far behind not long after birth, because they don’t have access to early childhood education, and never catch up with their more fortunate peers. In the end, it is the Commonwealth and its citizens that will suffer through an insufficiently skilled workforce and greater costs for social services.
The antigovernment and antitax mentality that has infected American politics is self-defeating. Massachusetts is a commonwealth; it’s time for our elected officials to put their full efforts behind enforcing our social compact.