Time for an increase in the state income tax?

The Globe reports Gov. Patrick will propose an increase in the income-tax rate to pay for improvements to our transportation and education systems, in his state-of-the-state address tonight.

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We have a governor?

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News to me. But yeah, lets raise taxes to get another billion dollars a year so it can be earmarked for transportationohjustkidding it went into the general fund and we spent it on a bunch of bullshit.

Yeah!

I was surprised too! Not only do we have one, but he seems to think we all have lots and lots of money. So much in fact, we can afford to pay lots of it in taxes.

For Education and Economic Development

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And, folks, don't forget: the income tax rate was 6% in the past! Thanks to Republican pandering, it was dropped below sustainable levels of investment in the things government is for.

Can't expect Federal bailouts for things that the state should be paying for - that's like whining to mommy and daddy about alowance money not being enough, yet not getting a damn job!

This is fine with me, though

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This is fine with me, though I'd like to see some brackets added so as to render the tax progressive. And if we could reduce or eliminate our regressive sales tax too, that would be great. Abolishing legalized gambling, which preys on the poor, would also be nice, plus it eliminates the contentious issue of casinos.

Bingo

By on

Let's drop the flat tax first (who set this shit up? Steve Forbes??) and then we can talk about whether the base rate needs an increase.

We Should Absolutely Raise the SIT

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I'm all for raising taxes but only after the governor has found a way to curb pension abuse, EBT fraud, spiraling health care costs for state employees, and corrupt housing departments. In fact, I'll also assume that the governor is going to take a hard stance against ridiculous special interest transportation lobbyists (I'm looking at you Green Line extension / South Coast) as well as other bs expensive endeavors that we absolutely, positively cannot afford. After, and only after, all of the waste, fraud, abuse, special interests, and fat has been cut for our state government should we even be talking about raising taxes. It's time for the tax payer to wake up and demand Common Sense from the Commonwealth.

Bingo!

By on

I got BINGO!

Right wing stalling tactics/meaningless talking points BINGO!

EBT fraud

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EBT fraud is not only minimal in scope, but it's also basically completely impossible to stop without the state mandating that the needy come in-person to eat their food. But hey, I'm sure that's mostly the point for you - don't give them anything at all, let 'em suffer.

Also, while I won't disagree with the South Coast rail being a boondoggle, you're beyond ridiculous to think that GLX is because of "special interest lobbying".

Setting tax rates by referendum

I honestly don't think setting tax rates by a popular referendum vote is the best way to set tax policy. Hey, if people had their way, we'd have no income tax, but that money has to come from somewhere. I'm no screaming liberal when it comes to taxation, but there's a better process to setting taxes than thru referendum. I never liked having that question on the ballot.

If that is true, then the

If that is true, then the sales tax would be 3% right now. The people of Massachusetts do understand in large enough numbers of the necessity for some money to do services.

What's the better process do you propose then? The current process is primarily a system of a group of elected officials deciding rates and the referendums is only a secondary process. It's primarily a counterbalance. So let's just allow only elected officials decide what's best for us? We know how well the threat of elections only go only so far.

True

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And what we argue about even more than the services is what we should pay to support them.

Documents are a little inconsistent - but it looks like the state budget in 2009 (last one before the financial crisis) was $27.9 bb in the general fund. 2013 is 32.5 bb. That's an average increase of slightly less than 4% per year in spite of the crisis, significantly greater than inflation and the growth of the Mass economy which I think has grown about 8% over a similar period (not exact as the comparison is fiscal and calendar years respectively - but close).

Compounding the issue is that the Feds are already 20-25% higher than historical norms as a percentage of GDP and at least Boston has grown its property taxes at an even greater rate. You can't do this for very long or the system implodes. At some point government just becomes too heavy for the rest of the economy to support it.

You seem to have difficulty with division

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Federal budget as a percentage of GDP means dividing the budget by GDP.

And GDP is lower than expected because we're still coming out of the financial crisis recession.

Now if you remember your grade-school math, a smaller denominator makes for a larger quotient. Also combine that with safety net measures like unemployment insurance and you get a temporary increase in the numerator.

Your constant harping on Federal budget as a percent of GDP, in this and other threads, just shows that either you are (a) a right wing troll who's fallen hook, line and sinker for the Fox propaganda, or (b) someone who doesn't understand division.

Take away the recession and the automatic safety net programs, which will happen eventually, and we'll be back to normal, or even below the Bush levels. After all, public employment has declined even while private employment has increased.

Matthew has officially left the planet

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You obviously haven't been paying attention - or maybe watching a bit too much MSNBC?

The economy is actually larger now than it has ever been - thank you but the denominator is fine. It's the numerator that is out of control - there isn't even a debate about that (the debate is how and when to make it smalller).

The federal budget as a percent of GDP is about 25% - most economists on both sides of the fence would probably put a sustainable rate in the 20% range with revenues needing to be about 18% (growth/inflation can account for offsetting the 2% deficit)

More serious than that is the debt as a percent of GDP - there are a couple of ways to measure this (technical arguments between economists) - but by any measure we have entered the yellow zone and if we don't change tack we will be in the red zone in less than 10 years.

I see you've chosen option (a)

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I don't watch any TV or cable news because that medium is a terrible way to get news. It's a great way to watch screaming talking heads or propaganda, though.

What I do watch is the interest rate on treasury bonds. And they're insanely low right now. Notice the last time they were this low? We called that time the Great Depression.

The economy has not recovered yet and debt is not a problem. If debt were a problem then you'd see interest rates spiraling upwards. But they are not. They are sticking very close to zero.

All your hubbub about debt is just that, it's ideology and propaganda. The interest rates tell the true tale. You desperately wish that we were "entering the yellow/red zone" because then it would justify your self-righteous posturing. But it's not true, and your posturing is foolish.

You ought to stop watching TV news too, and pay more attention to reality.

Nice citation Matthew

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From the organization whose current publicly stated position is to manipulate the interest rates (lower) of the securities you are talking about. If the market were allowed to control the pricing and the fed dumped a few trillion $ off its balance sheet, trust me, interest rates would be higher by an order of magnitude.

A little TV news - or any legitimate economic news - might be a good thing for you. You do realize that every time interest rates spike, the Fed just prints money and drives the price higher and the yield lower. I could do this too if I were legally allowed to own a printing press set to Benjamins.

Seriously Matthew, give up while you are way behind.

Is the economy healthy - probably not 100% - but it's growing (and perhaps due to the Fed's policy-I'm more concerned on how bad the withdrawal pains will be when they stop this). But arguing that our debt is not a time bomb that can be set off in a number of different ways is pure ignorance.

Government spending at 25% of the economy (fed only), debt at 100% or more of the economy and trillion dollar deficits are not sustainable without serious repercussions.

Where were all these debt worries ...

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... when Clinton handed Bush a solvent state and Bush proceeded to rack up the debt by handing out no-bid contracts to his friends as though the treasury were Daddy's Credit Card???

Debt isn't a problem?

The economy has not recovered yet and debt is not a problem.

I think you are the sole person that believes that.

Interest rates, check 'em

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Here's the link again.

Perhaps you don't understand what the low rates mean. If people out there believe that the debt is a problem, then they start to demand higher interest rates in return.

Since that is not the case, since people are more than happy to buy bonds at near-zero rates, that means that the people putting their money on the line do not believe that debt is currently a problem.

I'm not saying that it won't be a problem in the future, but right now it is not a problem. And you will be able to easily tell if there might be a problem because interest rates will rise as the market becomes more cautious.

People such as Stevil like to rant about debt because it is a political football, and they like to style themselves as self-important guardians of the economy. They can count on the fact that most people do not actually look at the data, and most people do not understand what it means. But it doesn't make them right, and a quick check of the data shows that interest rates on Treasury bonds are near zero. Which means that there's plenty of people out there who are quite confident in the United States' ability to pay back its debt, and they are putting their money where their mouth is.

"that the people putting

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"that the people putting their money on the line do not believe that debt is currently a problem."

Um, isn't that why the Fed is now buying most of its own debt?

Matthew - Stop, Breathe, Read

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What you say might be true in a free and open bond market, but we haven't had that for years. The reason interest rates are abnormally low is because an arm of our government which happens to have the right to print money by the barrel-full is doing just that to manipulate the markets. This is not some bizarro tin-foil hat "secret" scheme. It is the stated very public policy of the Federal Reserve. There are indeed SOME people investing in treasuries (some because they have to by law - for example local government reserves- or policy - for example a lot of insurance money and even corporate cash holdings which are HUGE and have nowhere to go - and others because they are afraid of the alternative), but the market is manipulated deliberately on the margin to control interest rates particularly to stimulate the housing market (and it is working - but nobody's sure what the long term consequences will be).

A $16 trillion debt or about 100% of the economy with trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see is not a political football. Nor is the light you see at the end of that tunnel daylight.

Talk about people who don't know what the numbers mean.

Did you even read your own link?

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It's about the drivers and growth of government spending. Little if anything about the sustainability of our debt and deficits other than low interest rates give us a brief reprieve until they go up in which case we are screwed (or our/your kids since I don't have any).

Interesting - especially the graph on TOTAL Fed/State/Local spending that is now almost at an all time high (save a couple of years during WW II). Government is now roughly 40% of the economy and with all the new taxes coming, likely to grow if somebody doesn't put a stop to this.

Read it, did you overlook

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Read it, did you overlook interest rates on the graph? This is what your whole argument was bitching about.

"Fortunately, much of the debt we have issued has relatively long maturities, meaning that we have locked in low rates. (This won’t necessarily apply to future deficit spending: one of the consequences of failing to raise the debt ceiling would be a significant rise in borrowing costs, which would compound our debt problems later on.)"

Regardless, look at the part where it talks about state spending, since this is what the thread is on. It has been decreasing, yet federal money has increased. See the issue? Usually, Red States are a drain on the federal budget and tend to either not have state income taxes, have very low state income taxes, or do not put in the federal money other states (which tend to be blue), compensate for. Look at Bobby Jindal and his pandering. Without state spending, STATES go down the drain. If conservatives would let the gov't re-tool entitlement programs, like letting Medicaid and Medicare barter pricing on pills, then we can cut costs without cutting services. It's like getting a pay decrease, but instead of buying Starbucks Lattes, you switch to Dunks. Same effect, different price.

But hey, conservatives don't look at facts. They pull things from places such as "hey I heard it somewhere" or "hey it was on the news".

didn't overlook that at all

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Actually originally cut and pasted it but took it out as the only marginal reference to the sustainability of the debt.

1) The interest payments are that low only now due to the current actions of the Fed. Highly unlikely they will stay that low and if this has to get refinanced at historical rates - it's in the range of $200-$300 billion that we don't have.

2) State spending nationwide may be down - but I believe the 2009 budget (passed right before the crisis) was about $27 billion. It's now $32.5 billion or up about 16% in four years from precrisis levels - may apply to other parts of the country - but apparently not Mass.

We may squeak by if we do something about spending (and contrary to people who say I'm a kneejerk republican rather than the independent I am, I openly believe that revenues were too low - they needed to move from what I think was about 15.5% of GDP to 18% - although I don't think the pain should have been piled just on the rich which doesn't really solve the problem - should have been broader with equal or greater focus on deductions and loopholes and slightly higer rates.)

The primary point is that we have a relatively small revenue problem. The spending part of the equation is 2-5 times as large and it has to be addressed.

Sigh

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It is a free and open bond market and people are happily putting their money into T-bills at zero interest rate.

In fact, economic fundamentals demand a negative interest rate to boost the economy, but it is not possible to have a negative nominal interest rate. So we are stuck at zero. And zero is too high.

You refer to the tripling of the monetary base as a means to keep interest rates low. That is incorrect. Rather, that increase is a step that is taken to try and return the economy to normal and that will bring interest rates back up to normal too. Notice that the price level has remained at or below normal for the past few years, even dipping into (dangerous!) deflationary territory back in 2009. Please read this article from the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

You claim that trillion dollar deficits are "as far as the eye can see." That's nonsense. Most of the deficit is due to the continuing weak economy, as well as the recently sunsetted Bush tax cuts. Once the economy returns to normal (employment at or near full-employment level, interest rates above zero) a large chunk of the deficit will disappear. The expiration of the Bush tax cuts would completely solve the remaining deficit problem, but for the sake of economic recovery they were extended on marginal income under $400,000. The remainder can be dealt with minor tweaks.

Your Chicken Little act wears thin. The sky is not falling. The United States is and will remain the strongest economy in the world.

Unless Republicans force a debt default in their zeal to exact revenge for losing the last election. Then all bets are off.

Still Bush's fault huh?

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Haven't heard from that guy in over 4 years and you are still blaming him? Get over it. The Democrats had Carte blanche and 2 years to raise those rates and did nothing either. for the record, my brother and I frequently discuss this and agree that rates probably should have been raised in about 2005 or 2006. Hawk that I am, federal revenue probably needs to be in the 18% of GDP range.

Deficit disappear? If we completely froze spending at $3.8 trillion to get it back to 20% of the economy which is a centrist opinion, the economy would have to grow 26% to $19 trillion from the current $15 trillion. At 3% that's about 8 years. At current growth rates that's in the range of 12 years.

a) what are the odds federal spending won't grow for 8-12 years - sounds like you and others want it even BIGGER!?
b) are you willing to wait 8-12 years for a "return to normal"?

Government needs to shrink. Too many people are dependent on it in too many ways. there's a role for it and a social safety net is part of it. But it's a safety net - not a leaning pole.

(PS - latest reports are GOP will back away from the debt ceiling and fight on sequestration - and I'll also wager that Mass, with not a single Republican in the house and thus zero leverage takes it on the chin when the dust settles)

Won't you all just leave Bush alone?

The statute of limitations on 'shit Republican presidents did' is two years.

After that, it's "nobody did it," just like in the Family Circus cartoons.

Invasion of Iraq? Nobody did it. A fat, toddler-shaped outline in the White House decided to make all his fat, toddler-shaped buddies over at Halliburton and KBR wicked rich at America's expense, killing more Americans than Osama bin Laden in the process.

It's so unfair that you nasty liberals keep insisting that things in history were actually done by people.

shit republican presidents did?

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Invasion of Iraq? Can you please tell me where in the constitution the president is allowed to declare war? And what was the vote in the senate? By party? And for the record I filled in the box with a D next to it in 2004, right wing nutjob that I am.

Nobody, thy name is Congress

You're right! Bush didn't take us to war in Iraq. It was Congress! It says right thar in the Constitution that the Congress is responsible for declaring war, so obviously it musta been their fault. Just like when it musta been Congress that invaded them commie medical schools in Granada, and Congress that got their ships so cowardly blown up in the Tonkin Gulf, and Congress that paid a Moral Equivalents of our Foundin Fathers in Nicaragua to rape some nuns and mine some harbors.

Congress got the war powers, right? So if'n it was war, it musta been Congress what did all that.

Oh, what fun the historically illiterate have.

Seriously, when you finish Warren's book, you should read Maddow's book Drift. It might help you understand American history a little bit better. Although if you were really sleeping as deeply as you pretend in 2001-2003, it might not help.

historically illiterate?

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U can't spin ur way out of this one. Iraq was no police action. They did it the old fashioned way. Declaration of war approved 4:1 by the senate including a majority of Democrats.

Yes, historically illiterate.

The United States has declared war eleven times. Here are the declarations at senate.gov.

Could you link, please to the declaration of war with Iraq.

Oh, don't waste your time googling. It doesn't exist because it didn't happen.

Yes, you are historically illiterate. This is the source of many of your errors.

OK - you win Philadelphia Lawyer of the Year

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But you lose the argument. Bush didn't act without appropriate authorization of the senate. For some legal, political or parliamentary reason (I haven't spent the last 10 years watching Rachel Maddow for my anti-Bush talking points, or O'Reilly and Hannity for my anti-Obama talking points for that matter), it was technically not a "declaration" of war- it was an authorization to use force. You might want to go out and correct the Wikipedia post which is headed Iraq War and change it to Use of Force against Iraq. You also might want to go out and talk to all the Iraqi War Vets, Korean war Vets and Vietnam War Vets and tell them they are not veterans of a war because the Senate never "declared" war, they only authorized military action (in those cases where they actually did).

What a hoot

So I'm right but:
a) It doesn't matter because it's not about that anymore;
b) I like someone you don't, which means I've got argument cooties; and
c) Obviously I hate veterans too

Stevil, you should probably stop pretending not to be a foxbot, because that's the only place in the world that such a rebuttal is anything but nonsensical.

a-b-c

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a) It wasn't about that to begin with (declaration of war, authorization to use force - who cares - it was about proper legal authority from the Senate - granted by almost 80% of our senior statesmen in that august body including about 60% of Democrats)

b) shhhhh - don't tell anybody - I voted for Obama - true story. My friends and family are pissed. Good thing they love me.

c) don't know, don't care - but everybody else called it a war, in spite of parliamentary legal wranglings - so yeah - on that curious technicality you win. In the court of common sense - not so much.

Hand me your credit cards

All your bank accounts and investment accounts, too. I'll go on an epic spending spree, knowing that everything will be fine and happy after, say, three or four years and you'll totally forgive that debt that I racked up on your accounts ... even though you probably won't pay it off for the rest of your life and it will totally ruin your standard of living. You're just that sort of forgiving guy, right?

seriously swirly?

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That's like arguing your husband ran up a 25k credit card bill so you were responsible because you took over the finances and three years later you were still only adding 25k per year in additional cc debt so now ur balance is "only" 100k

Nice kneejerk reaction there

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Are you programmed to respond to the word "Bush" by whining?

You know those tax cuts which just expired January 1st, 2013. Those are called the "Bush tax cuts" informally.

That happened two weeks ago. It's January 16th, 2013 right now. Two weeks is a lot shorter than four years.

If you want to call them the "Obama tax cuts" now I don't mind.

Whatever you call them, they were passed into law over ten years ago, and they are a major component of the budget deficit. Whether you like it or not.

Debt is still a problem

There's a difference between "confidence in being able to pay a debt" and "debt burden upon the debt holder".

Sure, the world has tons of confidence in us being able to pay our debt because we're the good ol' USA. If we go, the whole world goes. If you can't have confidence in the USA< who can you have confidence in?

That's different than a tremendous debt burden that, like the T's debt, sucks up so many resources, you can do little else but pay the debt service and supply minimal services to your customers. This is the debt problem I'm referring to. It's bad and getting worse.

Don't you mean "if and when"?

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the debate is how and when to make it smalller

I don't think there is even a majority consensus that it necessarily needs to be smaller. Perhaps you should make sure to win that argument convincingly before you start making demands.

Conservatives make a lot of hay over fraud and waste and bureaucracy, but then you either end up throwing out the baby with the bathwater, or you get into situations like Florida's drug testing program that actually costs them more money in the name of making sure that welfare recipients aren't using (and bigger government to boot).

Everyone wants a more efficient government, and nobody's arguing against that who isn't coming from a position of self-interest. But 99% of the time when someone talks about wanting "small government", what they really mean is that they want private industry taking that role for ideological reasons, or they simply don't want to pay for things that benefit the ecosystem as a whole. It's mathematically impossible for a for-profit enterprise to do the exact same job cheaper than a not-for-profit entity, so what you're really suggesting is to incentivize the ability to make the operation run leaner...but you never quite get what you pay for when you do that.

It's a lot easier to shame some officials out of office than to shame a company that's laughing all the way to the bank. It's a lot easier to sentence an official to prison than it is a sociopath in a corporation.

Also I don't know why there's this myth that liberals watch MSNBC. I think most of us are too busy with our lives to worry about what someone on TV has to say about the reality we live in. As opposed to the pearl-clutchers that pay attention to Fox News.

Q4 was because the

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Q4 was because the "temporary" tax hike of '89 became permanent. Funny how that happens. It'll be nice when our boys come back home from fighting the Germans and we won't have to pay the excise tax any more.

Gonna call up my landlords

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Going to tell them that I don't care if it costs them $1200 a month to maintain my apartment - I'm not going to pay it!

I'm gonna give them $1000 a month and they are going to like it - AND they are going to HAVE to continue to maintain everything as they have been doing!

Yeah! Because I'm the TENANT and I'M NOT GONNA TAKE IT!

Like, yeah, that's gonna work ...

So you're perfectly OK with

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So you're perfectly OK with paying higher rent so that the guy in the apartment next to you can have granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and a maid come in twice weekly to pick up after him. Plus, his rent on the bigger apartment is cheaper than your rent since you're subsidizing his. You can live next to me any time!

paranoid much?

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We all pay for government to be provide services that private industry won't or can't provide - look what PROFIT has done to our medical care system? Yeah, that.

Move to NH and you will learn what the term "fees for everything" means ... and see your property tax balloon ...

I'm betting that you are subsidized far more than you know - or care to know.

Bad Analogy

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We citizens are akin to renters? Do we have a lease? Or are we "at whim" tenants?

The politicians occupy their offices at our whim. The more we remember that, the better off we'll all be.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

Here's a link to something interesting

Here's a link to something that helps comprehend our budget.

http://www.boston.com/news/politics/2008/specials/...

Granted, it's a little old. Its from 2008, however, it is still useful to help comprehend and have an idea of cause and effect of cuts.

Also if you look at this: http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/statelocal_spe...

I think it is still viewable as a smaller version of the 2013 budget.

So, if we need 1 billion a year for transportation and 550 million for education** Here's a game to get an understanding of our current budget along with cause and effects.

**I have to make a little side note to education argument - it too much to write my comprehensive thoughts in a side. So the short version is we need a re-review of how we are viewing education and investment that Patrick said in tandem. The important proxy point is how we link college as the measuring stick while we're see the fruit is not a more educated and skilled (citizen-wise or employment-wise) population but a generation starting off with debt with all kinds of effects from that.

Also, as you can see in article that Matthew drummed me in the his response to my comment in the last post to me that gas tax is on the table. Patrick have all but dismissed it as a possible way to fund anything.

Did you even listen to what Patrick had to say?

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So the short version is we need a re-review of how we are viewing education and investment that Patrick said in tandem. The important proxy point is how we link college as the measuring stick while we're see the fruit is not a more educated and skilled (citizen-wise or employment-wise) population but a generation starting off with debt with all kinds of effects from that.

A big piece of this education intitiative is to improve the ability of community colleges to offer training in marketable job skills.

His proposal would provide universal access to early education from birth through age 5, fully fund K-12 education and allow for extended school days in high-need schools. The plan would also make college more affordable and let community colleges expand efforts to provide students with critical skills training.

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2013/01/gov...

Yes, I did read

Yes, I did read what Patrick said:

One point that I would have made if I explained fully (I still will not here, I just don't have time to write that comprehensively while I should be working and its means going really off topic) is "increasing affordability." There is talk that high education is entering in a bubble with still very unsettled discussions of its validity. Yet, I do think there's a point in there. You can't deny college tuition have expanded far faster than inflation and almost anything else. At the same time, so has financial aid in all forms.

One argument that I find plausible is the increase of loans and grants has ironically caused this. If there was no grants or loans and they raise the cost they did, would any middle class or lower student been able to put the cash to attend at all? Thus, ironically, the effort to make college affordable had made college cost defer-able with a greater amount deferred to later point in life. Thus the idea of raising taxes with part of the aim to make it more affordable, it may just allow the bubble to increase as more students can still pay through the larger ability of the state to offer now more grants and loans.

That is just one area. Hopefully this help demonstrate what I mean by a re-review. Community college expansion doesn't negate my point. It can very much goes to covering more loans or grants or other strategies that may just cost us without any payoff philosophically (more informed and critically thinking citizens) or economically (more skilled and knowledgeable graduates to join companies or entrepreneur).

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Tax a little more, spend a little less

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I wouldn't object to a tax increase (income tax or gas tax) IF they scale down some of the spending plans being proposed.

Do we need commuter trains to Springfield? Peter Pan has 8 buses a day which probably don't run full. And the population density west of Worcester drops way off so there won't be much business between the two cities.

Will people really ride late night buses in Worcester and other RTA cities? Right now they often have 2 or 3 people on board in the middle of the day. I'd rather redesign the systems which are still running 1960's routes from when everyone shopped and worked downtown.

High speed rail improvements, yes. New cars for Boston subways, yes. Commuter rail to Fall River has been promised for so long, that should probably happen too. But some of these other plans can go on hold while we fix the MBTA and the RTA's we already have.

Let's all write a letter.....

Dear Obama,

We here in Massachusetts pay a lot in federal taxes, and are thinking of spending a few billion dollars on some road projects. Can you help us out? We promise to keep paying the insane federal income taxes you have us paying.

Thank you,

Pete nice
(and Stevil)

Serious question, Pete:

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I don't mean to single you out on this, as millions of people are doing the same thing, but since you just did, can you offer an explanation as to why it's:

Dear President Reagan,
Dear President Bush,
Dear President Clinton,
Dear President Bush,
Dear Obama,

?

I hear it a lot on the radio, too. Any ideas why? Is it something about this particular President? Increasing informality? Both? Neither? (For the record, I have asked this question of others, and I categorically reject frequently offered claim that people said just "Bush", "Clinton" or "Reagan" with anywhere near the same frequency that they say "Obama").

Well...

The other presidents can't really do anything about it can they?

Edit: I misunderstood yA.

1. I am typing on an iPad and I often shorten things up

2. Good question, I think it has to do with the way his name ends in a vowel?

You are right though, people do say it more. I never really noticed that. It is also a unique name and you know exactly who you are talking about when you say it. George, bush, bill, Clinton......they just don't ha e the same familiarity when you say them, especially when you write them.

Obama also seems more of a common sense type of guy too. A real person, and not some lifelong politician like the others.

Thanks.

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That's a reasonable answer and a lot better than those I am still expecting to see from the nitwits who will take it upon themselves to accuse me of trolling.

Time out

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I will admit that I didn't catch the speech and haven't read the transcript yet, but does this mean the end of Forward Funding? Because if we are going to lower the sales tax, then we are killing the MBTA's budget which gets a percentile of the sales tax as its state funding.