While Governor Lincoln Chafee told Rhode Islanders "No New Taxes" Mass., Gov. Deval Patrick sang a different tune during his State of the State on Wednesday evening.
Patrick called for a tax increase noting that the key to success in Massachusetts is an investment in the future. "There is no good time to raise taxes. I know how tough the times have been on the people and families of the Commonwealth. And though the worst of the Recession is over, many, many families still face tough decisions and have deep anxiety about the future. I would not ask if I did not believe in my heart that investing meaningfully today in education and transportation will significantly improve our economic tomorrows," said Patrick. He said he would use the additional revenue to pay bills and invest in new ways. While he suggested a tax increase, he also suggested lowering the sales tax from 6.25% to 4%.
"In my budget, I will propose that we cut the sales tax from the current rate of 6.25 percent to 4.5 percent and dedicate all the proceeds to a public works fund. That fund will support the transportation plan I have laid out -- both our existing responsibilities and the necessary expansion projects -- as well as the school building fund and other public infrastructure. Under my plan, sales tax proceeds would be off limits for any other purpose," said Patrick.
Patrick said he will continue to put a strong focus on education, innovation, and infrastructure. "It's a strategy proven through history," said Patrick, "and it's working today."
Patrick also highlighted his new gun safety measure that he proposed on Wednesday afternoon as a reaction to the school shooting a Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Patrick emphasized education through his speech and his emphasis on making college education more affordable. He also placed strong emphasis on transportation and infrastructure.
This marks Deval Patrick's second to last State of the Commonwealth address as he only has two years in office remaining.