Specifically, I am underwhelmed by the Patrick campaign’s response in this morning’s Boston Globe article:
Patrick’s campaign countered, pointing out that Reilly has switched positions on the rollback of the state income tax rate. Reilly opposed the rollback until last year, when he called on the state to lower the rate to 5 percent from its current 5.3 percent.
“If he handles our taxes like he has the Big Dig’s cost overruns, then voters have many reasons to worry,” Richard Chacón , communications director for the Patrick campaign, said in a statement.
So, let’s see, the most effective defense that Deval Patrick could mount was to point out that Tom Reilly began supporting the income tax rollback at the end of 2005 and to raise the unrelated cost recovery issue? Personally, I think it is a weak answer that would only look weaker against Kerry Healey, since none it will apply to her. Our Democratic nominee will have to do better than that.
The bottom line is that the state can afford the income tax rollback now. Just ask Tom Birmingham, who opposed the rollback in 2002, but embraced it last October. And if you argue that the state cannot afford a $500 million tax cut, then you better be prepared to argue that the state cannot afford any of the candidates’ proposed programs that will cost that much or more. Hey, we can’t afford it, right? I don’t think so. Mr. Patrick, just because you might prefer that government program to the rollback doesn’t make one any more or less affordable than the other.
Tom Reilly has said that he will pay for the rollback with an anticipated $1 billion surplus, leaving him with $500 million more to spend than the last Governor – and that is before trimming waste, an area that both he and Deval Patrick agree exist. It seems to me that now is precisely the right time for Democrats to listen to the 57% of Likely Democratic Primary Voters who support the rollback. (And, yes, those are Likely Democratic Primary Voters. What do you think the Likely General Election Voter percentages would look like?)
If not now, when? Perhaps Deval Patrick should show us his math. Perhaps he should explain why his numbers don’t add up on the side of taxpayers. Tom Reilly has explained his position at the debates and in interviews. Show us the spreadsheets, Deval!
Come November, the Democratic nominee will need to make a strong case in order to convince voters that they can trust him on taxes and spending. That argument obviously can’t be, Sure, Kerry Healey, but you always supported the tax rollback and, by the way, how about that Big Dig? How’s that working out for you?
Even Kerry Healey can shatter that glass jaw.