In Gov. Patrick’s State of the Commonwealth tonight, the Governor laid out some main priorities, eg:
- People need to get places. And so does stuff. So we have to have good, more and better ways to get people and stuff to the places they’re supposed to get to. This makes life better.
- It’s good to get kids learning things at a pretty young age; the younger the better. This makes those kids smarter and more capable even as they grow up into adults. This makes life better.
Or if you’re the Governor, you say it like this:
Opportunity is too important to leave to chance. Opportunity requires growth. And growth requires investment. It’s just as true of government as in any business. The economy is not like the weather; it is not some natural force that is beyond our control, something where we have to wait for others to predict or explain. What we choose to do, and not to do, shapes our future. Indeed, as one friend of mine likes to say, “The future belongs to those who prepare for it.”
That is why we invest in education, in innovation and in infrastructure.
We invest in education because well-prepared young minds and mid-career talent is our global calling card and our economic edge.
We invest in innovation because, with a workforce like ours, enabling and encouraging new ideas is the best way to take advantage of the knowledge explosion happening in the world economy today.
We invest in infrastructure because rebuilding our roads, rails, bridges, expanding broadband to every community, building new classrooms and labs and more affordable housing gives private initiative and personal ambition the platform for growth.
Education, innovation, infrastructure. It’s a strategy proven through history. And it’s working for us today.
The headlines everywhere – including here – are going to shriek about Gov. Patrick’s tax plan. Yes, when you propose getting something that’s valuable, you have to pay for it somehow. That tax money is going to pay for something of value. We have been free-lunching our transportation and education priorities for a long time. We have been skating on the investments that past generations made for our present — for us.
Tax money pays for stuff. It can be good stuff or bad stuff; useful or useless; effective or ineffective. Keep what it buys in the forefront of the conversation, and we’ll make better decisions both on the revenue and the spending sides. The revenue has to be aimed at things we actually want; the projects upon which it is spent need to be properly vetted, tightly overseen, and transparent. We have to get our money’s worth. If the public has confidence it will actually get the value promised for the money invested, it will accept new revenues.