Tell your legislators that you stand with Governor Patrick on reforms and revenue

This is important, folks, and it’s happening right now.  The Governor is absolutely right that a large broad-based tax should be unacceptable at least until the legislature gets its act together on transportation reform, pensions, ethics, and other key issues.  Those bills are languishing; meanwhile, it seems like a big sales tax hike is on the fast track.  But nothing’s a done deal.

The Governor sent a letter to every legislator today; the full text is on the flip.  Read it, realize that he’s right on every point, and then call or email your Representative and Senator (not sure who they are? find out here) to make sure they know where you stand.

We can make a difference on this.  The Governor is doing the right thing, but he can’t do it alone.

April 27, 2009

Massachusetts Senate

Massachusetts House of Representatives

State House

Boston, MA 02113

Dear Member:

This afternoon, as the House considers its budget proposal for FY10, members will be asked to consider an increase in the sales tax. Without final and satisfactory action on the several reform proposals before you, I cannot support a sales tax increase and will veto it if it comes to my desk.

I appreciate the need to raise additional revenue for essential services, and have proposed a number of targeted measures and reforms to help meet the need. Our proposals were thoughtful, data-driven and specific, and, in the case of the gas tax in particular, would create jobs and support economic growth. I have deep reservations about imposing a higher sales tax on people during these difficult economic times, especially at the risk of costing the Commonwealth jobs and at a time when we can least afford that trade-off. Doing so without meaningful results on the reform agenda is unacceptable.

Before we consider any broad-based tax increase, we must first regain the public’s confidence in government’s ability to steward public funds wisely. That’s what our reform agenda is about. On that front, we have unfinished work.

The transportation reform bill is now in conference. Real transportation reform requires simplicity, accountability, regional equity and true cost savings. We are not there yet. As I have said repeatedly, without real reforms, I will not support new transportation revenue. Without new revenue, we will unfortunately be forced to rely on toll hikes and MBTA fair increases and service cuts to meet our transportation responsibilities.

Pension reform is now also in conference. We must end the abuses and loopholes that justifiably outrage the general public and embarrass everyone in state government. A final bill that applies only to people not yet on the public payroll does not meet that test.

The Senate has taken no action at all yet on our ethics reform measures. Several municipal reforms, including (but not limited to) an easier path into the cost-saving GIC for municipal employees and elimination of the telecom exemption, still await action, leaving unchanged the pressure on local property taxes. Our proposals to end sales tax exemptions on alcohol, soda and candy to fund public health and wellness programs have not moved. The failure to take up these latter issues has caused us to have to make deeper cuts in local aid and other programs in the current fiscal year.

Crafting this year’s budget is more challenging than any other in decades. As you consider the task before us in the coming weeks, be mindful that the times demand that we think and act differently than we have in the past. Together we must make the hard decisions that will deliver meaningful reform in transportation, pensions, ethics and municipal finance now. We must also reach agreement on how to dedicate any new revenue to specific unmet needs in education, health care, human services, transportation, public safety, local aid, and a worsening revenue gap for 2010.

We owe it to the people of Massachusetts to use this opportunity to change the way we approach these problems, and to work together on a more comprehensive solution that will provide the revenue we need while delivering real reforms and real change in the way we do the people’s business. Without this, I will veto a sales tax increase if it comes to my desk.

I look forward to working with you to bring about this change.


Deval Patrick

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53 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Sales Tax is Regressive

    Thanks for the coverage on this issue.  I'm glad the Governor is willing to veto a sales tax if transportation and pensions are not dealt with first. The Commonwealth needs to figure out what revenue they need before just raising taxes for it.  Also, I'm a bigger proponent of taxing things you want to curb -- like driving, rather than taxing something this state could use -- sales!

  2. Not really

    There's a lot that is off-base here, starting with Deval's war on the legislative branch via press release.  Other people will cover it I'm sure, but I would just think that when Barrios wanted to limit Fluff in school lunches, everyone pointed and laughed -- including half of Deval's groupies.  Now that the Guv is pursuing soda with more abandon and less sense, it's "right on every point".

    sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
    • $quot;war on the legislative branch$quot; thank heaven someone's willing to wage it!

      If you're opposed to transportation reform, ethics reform, and pension reform, by all means make the case on the merits.

      If not, then perhaps this is what it appears to be: the legislature trying to stuff through a big tax increase to pay for the ever-rising cost of bloat, inefficiency, and favors for friends.

      • What case?

        The merits are the right kind of reform, not the right kind of press release.  Union busting is not pension reform, it's political grandstanding.  Ethics reform would be nice, but that comes with enforcing the current rules that are ignored, not bumping up old penalties that are only enforced by federal officials.  That is the idea of execution of the current law, which is the responsibility of the executive.

        How about transportation reform?  Deval's on-again, off-again, maybe-today idea about the gas tax?  If he's serious about revenue, he can put his shoulder to the wheel on a progressive income tax, but no, we get another -- you guessed it! -- press release.  

        The legislature floated a bad idea, and it got shot down as it should have.  That's all -- it doesn't cast them as the bad guys for not doing what what's-his-name wants.

        sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
      • Really Bob?

        If not, then perhaps this is what it appears to be: the legislature trying to stuff through a big tax increase to pay for the ever-rising cost of bloat, inefficiency, and favors for friends.

        Any more Howie Carr talking points you want to throw out there? Come on, you guys are generally better than that.

        There are certainly merits to the reforms the Governor wants to see passed, including common-sense changes to the pension rules, consolidation of some transportation redundencies, etc. Frankly, though, I wish the Governor had instead threatened to veto tax increases that are insufficient to solve the problems at hand.

        Like it or not the budget debate is happening in the House now. Not next week, not in a month. This is the one chance the House has to do something to shore up revenues to prevent devastating cuts to services that do far more than pay for "bloat" and "favors for friends." Look around this blog and you'll read from plenty of people who see firsthand the devastation that is wrought upon vulnerable populations when funding for crucial programs is cut or eliminated.

        Let's have the debate about what is the best way to raise revenue and which programs and services should be funded and which should be cut. But let's do it without parroting the false notion that taxes only fund waste and bureaucracy.

        • the idea that

          this approach doesn't "figure out what revenue they need before just raising taxes for it," as bem pointed out above, is something I find unsettling. Maybe Bob went too far in his declaration, but I don't think it was that far.

          I also disagree with this:

          This is the one chance the House has to do something to shore up revenues to prevent devastating cuts to services that do far more than pay for "bloat" and "favors for friends."

          Something that does nothing to fix the fundamental problems could actually be worse than doing something poorly. Why? This is a tangible increase to taxes, but by the time it's divied up it won't actually fix anything. It's not smart policy to increase taxes and have little tangible to show for it. Our problems not only won't go away, but will actually get worse -- the only difference is that the public will have lost the appetite to raise taxes again. We need to find the right, mixed approach now -- or risk many more years of a structural deficit as a consequence.

          At the very least Deval started that process out by proposing a tax that would actually have huge tangible results across our entire transportation infrastructures -- as well as the fact that he looked into taxing things currently untaxed, like candy and (in terms of state taxes) liquor, as well as giving munis some new tools in addressing their own problems. That's some pretty low hanging fruit that would have done some good in the state. There should be no sales tax before all of those proposals pass - because unlike this proposed sales tax, they actually fix things -- and do so in a fair, well-thought-out manner.

        • Now now

          When Deval wants more revenue, it's for good governance.  When the Legislature wants more revenue it's for hackocracy.

          When Deval wants more rain, it's so that pretty flowers grow in your grandma's garden; when Bob DeLeo wants more rain, it's to flood out homeless orphans.  Et cetera.

          sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
          • Point well taken,...

            ... but there is something to be said for trust.  If one thinks that governance is a politician's desired end, it follows that he would be more trusted with the tax money.  Indeed, hasn't recent national polling indicated that people would actually be ok with increased taxes if they thought they would get value for them?  It seems then that what your pointing out here is that people here seem to trust Deval more than the Legislature.  I take it that the snark is indicative that you believe such a position is unwarranted?  Is it so unwarranted and if so, why?

            • Which people?

              I don't think it's about trust, but rather expanding our view of the electorate beyond the small core of unthinking acolytes of Deval.

              sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
              • Are you saying....

                ... that the trust that is exemplified is built of being unthinking?  What is it that they are not thinking of?

                I think I have shown that the comment is a statement that the people here trust Deval too much.  You may be right, but as the person making the assertion, I think it's incumbent upon you to give reasons you think this.  

                • I'm saying

                  Okay...Deval is right to tax soda, Barrios is a joke for ending Fluff in school lunches.  Deval is so right on education that people sign up to promote his plan without knowing what it is.  Tim Cahill is the devil incarnate b/c the Globe rumors that his people are considering an independent run, the Working Families Party is lauded for running for minor constitutional offices.  DiMasi is a hero when on Deval's side on health care and marriage equality, but  nobody minds when he is chased out of office after opposing Deval and his casino buddies.

                  sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
                  • Issue by issue.

                    I think what you are pointing out here is indicative that the praise/criticism meter on BMG generally rises and falls on a policy basis.  If so, then if there is cool-aid drinking phenomenon, it is based on policy and not personality based (although I don't know much about Cahill), no?

                    • Quite the opposite

                      I'm pointing out that the praise/criticism from a small, very vocal group at BMG is based on Deval's place in a debate.  On attacking the consumption of sweets, Deval was right, Barrios was wrong, even though they were on the same side.  On running against Dems from the outside, Cahill is wrong, the WFP is right, because Cahill is running against Deval.  On DiMasi, he's generally right unless he disagrees with Deval, who was likely behind the harassment via media.  Heck, many folks promised to promote Deval's plans before they had any clue what they were.

                      Deval is right on the sales tax, and astoundingly ignorant on how he's promoting it.  The fact that a small, vocal group of people refuse to see that does not bode well for Deval's future.

                      sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
                    • You are so reading into things

                      First, Cahill is himself. He doesn't need pro-Patrick people to see him for the hack that he is.

                      Second, the last legislative session under DiMasi was marked with a lot of successes - from proposals pushed from both sides, the Gov's office and DiMasi's.

                      Now, we have DeLeo, whom we all knew was going to be a problem. DiMasi might have had his moments, but we knew DeLeo was going to be more like Finnerin than not. Also as regressive as he is.

                      No progressive is a big fan of high sales taxes, which are regressive.

                      Barrios made himself ridiculous. But I don't recall anyone taking any huge pot shots at him here. Also, the two positions are not completely analogous, and no one ever said Barrios was really wrong - just being a bit rhetorical about it.

                      I would like proof that shows Patrick had anything to do with DiMasi's newspaper troubles. You keep bandying that about but you are talking out of you know where. There's no proof, and what's more, there's plenty of proof that the media needed NO reason or person of power to hit DiMasi, if indeed he was witch hunted.

                      You need to figure out how much of your position on Patrick is your personal feelings and how much of it is real, because honestly, I think you're a little unhinged every time this subject comes up, such that I take any of your anti Patrick rants with a huge grain of salt and don't consider them really very credible. This is not because I'm super-pro-Patrick, it's because you keep spouting conspiracy theories you have no real reason to believe but say them anyway.

                    • Fine then

                      If you want to get personal because we're talking about Deval Patrick, you're welcome to it.  Throwing names and insults around is your right, but I'm wasting everyone's time if I respond.

                      sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
    • The scolding tone in the first paragraph directed to

      Members of a coequal branch didn't make the Governor any friends among the rank and file either.  

      Without final and satisfactory action on the several reform proposals before you, I cannot support a sales tax increase and will veto it if it comes to my desk.


      • Tough. Luck.

        My goodness, they ought to feel uncomfortable. They ought to be scolded for not moving on these things. They ought to feel heat. And if they don't move on all of those issues, they ought to be ashamed.

        That's why we elected this guy governor.

        He's done a lot of hand-holding and bending over backwards and making nice with a whole host of constituencies within the legislature. Now it's time for them to step up -- and take credit when they do!

        • I worked hard to elect this governor because

          I hoped (yes indeed I hoped), he would be able to build a postive, productive and mutally respectful relationship with the Legislature, a co-equal branch of state government. But he won't do that by shaming them.

          • Judy - I don't see it as $quot;shaming them$quot;

            No points on your comment from me!  I have seen far better from you.

            And the sales tax is NOT the way to go, not like this, not all the "eggs in one basket".

          • I don't know from 'shaming'.

            But I do think the legislature ought to be ashamed.

            Look: The governor proposed the gas tax hike several months ago. There was a lot of hemming and hawing (in front of  and behind some leadership changes prompted by a faint whiff of, shall we say... ethical manure...?)

            After all this hemming and hawing and generally abstruse 'debate' about reform before revenue and all that, the legislature decides, apparently out of nowhere, to treat the governors proposal like so much yard waste and propose an entirely different,not to mention simplistic, sweeping and drastic, increase to the most regressive tax we have.

            The legislature ignored the carefully thought out proposals of the governor and, apparently solely for the sake of proposing something different pulled the least amount of work outta their... hats... flourished their arms a lot and said 'Ta-Da!!'.

            They ought to be ashamed.  

      • children

        get scolded.  

        • Exactly

          At that is how Deval is treating the Legislature right now.  How'd scolding by press release work out for the last governor to try it?

          sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
          • can't be any worse

            than any of the other tactics patrick has taken re: legislator. Plus, this is different than Romney. Patrick's a dem and there's a fair amount of progressives there who are against sales taxes... not to mention Republicans against pretty much any taxes. It will be tough for DeLeo to override the veto. Either he can grow up and learn to compromise with Patrick, as DiMasi did, or DeLeo can let this state be destroyed in a childish tantrum... which won't go over well with anyone.  

            • True

              It can't be any worse -- Mitt was pretty much a failure as things go.  While Deval is on the side of the angels this one in terms of policy and party.  And reflexively calling out DeLeo for a tantrum is way beyond the pale.  Deval is the one who held his breath via press release and sicced his zombie army on them in public.  A grownup does what DeLeo was so successful doing yesterday -- work quietly in the halls of power.

              sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
              • Zombie army

                Come on sab.  It's grassroots people powered when you like the guy, but zombies when you don't?

                The implication is that those of us who do (still) support Patrick are kool-aid drinkers and not thinking for ourselves.  We know you're not hip to Patrick's jive, but please give a little credit to those of us who (still) are.

                • For brevity...

                  I point you to my response to Mr. Lynne.  I will admit that I get easily rankled at being ordered to do something just because someone sent out a press release.

                  sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
                  • Feh

                    You know how many press release I get (from Patrick's office, even) that I don't do anything about, or support, or make a big deal of? Or how many I might disagree with?

                    You need to figure out why you got the hate on so bad, and stop accusing people who are supporting Patrick of the very thing you appear to be guilty of - spouting rhetoric instead of facts.

              • doubt it.

                Deval is the one who held his breath via press release and sicced his zombie army on them in public.  A grownup does what DeLeo was so successful doing yesterday -- work quietly in the halls of power.

                Had DeLeo been doing any actual work here, he'd have taken the governors proposal seriously and at least gotten it to a vote... even if he worked and/or voted against it.  Instead, he ignored it,only to later pull out the least amount of thought to go for the lowest hanging (and most regressive) fruit simply, it seems, in order to propose something different...

                That's not being grownup.  Far from it.  

                I can see your point about Deval, and might give it some creedence if I didn't observe the legislature treating the gas tax proposal like kleenex and casting desperately (and politically) around for an alternative for no good reason.  The alternative they arrived at is an insult to the governor, to you and to me.  

  3. I called my representative...

    and he actually answered the phone. I had a nice long chat with him about how important it is for the taxpayers to see substantial reforms before any revenue increases.  So I asked him to vote against a tax increase at this time and vote against an override on the Governor's veto should that all come to pass. I also asked him to push for the reform bills to take precedence. I told him that once reforms were passed, I was on board with 1% sales tax increase. He agreed with the 6%. He is against the gas tax so I was happy to hear that. It was a really nice to talk to him.  

    • But why?

      Why are you happy with an increase in the sales tax and opposition to an increase in the gas tax?  What sense does that make?

      A sales tax is a tax on consumption aka spending, directly, and is therefore 100% anti-stimulus, so it's one of the worst taxes to raise during a recession.  The gas tax, on the other hand, is about a product we mostly import.

      Aside from that difference, the two are very similar taxes.  So why do you think sales tax is the better one?

      • The reason why is because I already often pay 6% sales tax.

        I live two minutes from the CT border and I work in CT. I often stop at stores in CT because of convenience. I don't even notice the sales tax difference. I will go to the Target in Enfield CT before I will drive to the Target in Holyoke. The 1% just seems inconsequential.  What I do notice is that gas in Massachusetts is $2.00/gal and in CT it is $2.15/gal (give or take a few cents). I will never buy gas in CT.  I will always fill up in MA.

        Since sales tax does not apply to clothing and food, I really don't pay much in sales tax weekly.  The majority of our household budget money not spend on housing and utilities, is spent on food, clothing and gas. A gas tax would affect our household budget every week, a sales tax would not.  Of course, when we do go to buy the television, computer, or furniture, (rare occurence) we would pay that extra 1%, but it would be less than paying the gas tax every week.

        • Unconvincing

          You think the sales tax is better than the gas tax because you have a stronger emotional reaction to gas prices?  How does that make it better for the state?  Or is it just that you're trying to personally pay less tax regardless of the broader consequences (even if those broader consequences hurt the economy and thus end up hurting you financially even more) ?

          Note: You living near the border makes you unusual, and a vast majority of MA residents will not be affected by that border issue.  If gas costs 10 cents a gallon less in the next state but you have to drive 10 miles there and 10 miles back to get it, you save money buying locally anyway.  And most people would have to drive a lot more than 10 miles.

          • Do you think a gas tax is better than a sales tax

            because you live in a metropolitan area with access to commuter rail or the luxury of a short drive to work? The huge push for a gas tax here cannot be entirely for the good of the state, I'm sure many have their own personal motivation for supporting it.

            Do you have a 70 minute round trip commute everyday? Can you guarantee the people of Western MA that a gas tax will benefit our communities, or will it simply be used for continued waste an abuse by the MTA and the MBTA, or to pay for the Big Dig which I have never used once?

            It seems all of the people who are for a gas tax are against toll hikes.  Gee, I wonder why? Because it will take more out of your pocket than a gas tax will.

            I don't want any new taxes.  I already pay plenty of taxes. Yes, I am absolutely looking for the least financially painful way to raise revenue because the money is not going to be used wisely anyway. If I can see some sort of common sense reform or at least a strong effort by our lawmakers to fight for a cleanly run taxpayer focused government, then maybe I will be willing to pay more to drive to work everyday. Perhaps I would be more willing to pay a higher gas tax if they also raised the tolls on the pike, and increased the fee on commuter rail.

            • public transit

              Actually, public transit is so much more expensive than gas for short trips, that they'd have to raise the gas tax to something like $30/gallon (no, that's not a typo) to make it comparable.  If I'm really trying to save money on short trips, I drive.

      • If the gas tax is increased in Massachusetts...

        to the point where it is higher than Connecticut, I will always fill up in Connecticut.

    • And how did he vote?

      Just curious.

      • he voted yes

        I don't begrudge him for his vote. He did say last night that he was concerned that if the sales tax increase didn't pass he would then have to support a tax increase that was less favorable for his constituency.

        Voting against this tax increase to send a message that reform must come first seems like a great way to send a message, but I've come to the conclusion that reform is just not going to happen.  I'm beginning to get a clearer picture of what the legislature is.  The power structure is so set in stone there is no way they can ever practice the concept of a mature meeting of the minds.  It is nothing more strong-arming combined with passive aggressive manipulation. It is both laughable and infuriating.  Almost seems silly to fret about it so much.

  4. He also agreed that reform was extremely important now

    not only at the state level but across all levels of government from cities and towns to federal government. So I think I am pretty pleased with my representative right now.  He's a newbie or Freshman as you would call him, and is hoping he can make a difference.  Awesome!!  

  5. *sales* tax!

    I already called last week to suggest increasing the income tax, and express support for the gas tax.  But now I'm definitely going to call again, to ask why this idiotic idea of increasing the sales tax is the one they're apparently taking seriously.  Has the Massachusetts legislature got brainworms??

    • YES, clearly

      This is insanity. These guys are nuts. All of them. Republicans, Democrats, Representatives, Senators, the Patrick administration, all of them.

      Look at where we've landed: No gas tax increase, no income tax increase, a sales tax increase in a collapsing economy and a collapsing transportation infrastructure with NO way to pay for it.

      A pox on ALL their houses.

      • $quot;all of them$quot;?

        I think that attitude is overbroad and counterproductive.  To get somewhere, we need to see the differences both of opinion and of effort among different people in government and politics, so we know who to support, who to encourage, who to pressure, and who to give up on, as well as how to work from the outside to send things in a better direction.  The legislature as a whole is crazy here, but that doesn't mean each individual legislator is, and viewing those two things as one and the same renders you powerless.

        • Perhaps, but ...

          I think we also need to occasionally step outside of our calm, rational, analytic and deliberative shell to make it clear that the direction all of this results in is dead wrong, and is frustrating to people who have passion as well as intellect.

          There is nothing wrong with frustration, and there is a great deal wrong with the results that the process is currently yielding.

          Sometimes you have to knock people upside the head with a two by four to get their attention.

  6. What is Deval's point?

    I'm not clear on the Gov's position here. Is he saying that there can be no revenue before reform?  That he's willing to hold the state's infrastructure, needed social services and public employees hostage to that end?

    If so, I can understand that point of view, but why did he wait til now to say it?

    Or is he saying, we can have revenue before reform as long as it's his revenue proposals (candy, soda, etc.)?

    And why isn't he criticizing the sales tax for being regressive?

    • Where've you been??

      He's been saying reform reform reform with/before revenue like, for months now. More than.

      The lege is stalled on the very proposals that will fix some core problems and show the public that they are willing to make efficient and transparent government a core principle before asking people to fork it over. How is this not consistent with the Gov's previous words? And also, after codding the hell out of these guys (aka the hacks), it's time to play hardball.

      Or is he saying, we can have revenue before reform as long as it's his revenue proposals (candy, soda, etc.)?

      And why isn't he criticizing the sales tax for being regressive?

      Wow, you are contradicting yourself there. First you want to insinuate that Patrick only wants HIS revenue proposals, then you want to point out that he hasn't completely rejected the revenue proposal the lege is after. Your slip is showing.

      Also, in his press release, though he doesn't use the word "regressive" it's obvious that it's on his mind: "I have deep reservations about imposing a higher sales tax on people during these difficult economic times" sounds to me like he knows who it worst affects, doesn't it?

      • codding = coddling

        Not to imply the legislative leadership has the brain power of cod, or anything...or, was I?

        I would say that DeLeo is a huge disappointment, but then that would mean that I expected something from him. Sigh.

      • if we're going to bet the farm, let's make sure it's worth it

        If we're going to hold all government services and public employees hostage, let's do it for the right reasons.  These may include stronger transportation and pension reform but they also include economic fairness.  

        And at the end of the day, if we have a standoff and no new revenue, the price to pay will be high and we know who will pay it - roughly the same folks who pay a higher share when taxes are regressive.  

        I don't object to threats, but if they don't work, and we're left without reform or revenue, those affected better be prepared to fight back.

  7. Setting a clear line

    I don't see the Governor's letter to Legislators as anything but clearly delineating what he will and will not support for revenues and reforms.

    It would be a good day to see egos shoved where the sun don't shine and some action on the part of the legislature.  How long do the citizens of the Commonwealth including the Governor have to wait for them to take substantive action to change the dysfunction in our government? The above letter is why I worked to elect Deval Patrick.  

  8. The letter was a huge political blunder

    The Governor should be partnering with his colleagues in the Legislature - not feeding into the minority party's tactics and sending an absurdly accusatory worded letter to his colleagues right before they were actually considering revenue options.

    It was a bad tactict that I am sure has pissed off his most heartened supporters

    To call the bills languising is absurd, it only has been a month since they are in conference and they have many details to work out. The bills are in conference committee and he should have been working with the Senate President and Speaker to come up with a better versions or versions that are more to his liking.

    This looks like another misstep from the Governor's now inept staff who have most certainly decided to pull a Mitt Romney and run against the Legislature - this time its his own party!

    And the House just showed him where to stick his letter - DeLeo got the Override Vote assured with 108 members voting with him!!

    • Patrick strikes back

      That's now, with very little time for the public to get stirred up. Wait a few days and see what happens. I'm sure some of these reps will get an earful back home.

      If that two vote veto proof margin holds I'd be very surprised. I'm betting Deleo made some deals to save face and now this sales tax hike will get held up. At least I hope so.

      And kudos to the governor for getting his governing mojo back. He should be standing up to the legislature. God knows he tried to suck up to them long enough and look where that got him. The public will be with him on this and well they should be. Increasing the sale tax is about the worst new revenue source you could come up with.  

    • Whoa, whoa, whoa...

      The letter was a huge political blunder (0.00 / 0)
      The Governor should be partnering with his colleagues in the Legislature - not feeding into the minority party's tactics and sending an absurdly accusatory worded letter to his colleagues right before they were actually considering revenue options.

      The governor proposed the gas tax increase in February...

      Since that time, he's been patiently waiting, as in a partnership with colleagues, for a vote, an amendment or a debate.   The reply he received was the use of his proposal to wipe the legislators noses and the least amount of thought and insight into the issue possible with the proposal of a blanket increase in the most regressive tax we have for no other reason (apparently) than to have something 'different' than that which the Gov proposes.   He's been insulted by those with whom he has been attempting to partner...  Why is it his 'blunder'?  

      • Proposed?

        Check back to news stories from November 2008. The Governor was vehemently against the gas tax until public and legislative pressure increased.

        Then, In February, he came out in support of it.

        • *What* legislative pressure?

          Pressure by the public regarding the rate hike on the pike that NO one wanted, but NOT from the lege. The lege leadership has been sitting on its hands on this on, from day one.

          Honestly, if we hadn't have lost DiMasi, I doubt that would be true. But DeLeo is a coward. He didn't want more than on vote on a tax increase, so he picks the easiest one - if there is such a thing - and voila! Pats himself on the back. Meanwhile, the very real problems are NOT solved!

    • Why a bad strategy?

      The letter was a huge political blunder  

      Why? If legislators start getting letters and phone calls over the issue, it might just make them snap out of worlds. Right now the only people motivated to speak are the anti-tax crowd, and even though their voices are loud due to amplification in the media (Howie Carr, WHYN in Springfield), it may just be true that they are in the minority and that the sensible crowd in this state recognizes that we need revenue to plug the revenue slump and we need reforms to restore faith in government.

      The alternative was Patrick slinking back into the corner office, effectively neutered.

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Tue 28 Mar 7:26 PM