Deval Patrick on Tax Reform
Democratic Governor (MA) and presidential contender
PATRICK: There is no "the problem." There is a problem of purpose and direction and efficiency, in my view. For example, I think we should radically simplify our corporate and our individual income tax system. And while I do not support a wealth tax, I do support raising the estate tax. I think it ought to go back up to 55 percent, which is where it was. We know it works. I think about that as nonrecurring revenue. And I would use those revenues in part to pay down national debt. The other things we have to do, though, are invest in the things that enable us to grow, because that's the other solution to our national debt. And so education, innovation, infrastructure, a formula that we used to terrific effect in Massachusetts, is something we need to scale.
In his annual "State of the State" speech, Patrick asked the state Legislature to approve a hike in the state's 5.25 percent income tax to 6.25 percent and a reduction in the 6.25 percent sales tax to 4.5 percent. Patrick said proceeds, estimated at $1.9 billion a year, would go to public education and transportation projects.
To support our education initiatives, my budget will propose that we increase the income tax by 1 percentage point--to 6.25 percent. To make that increase fair to all according to their ability to pay, I will propose that we double the personal exemptions for every taxpayer and eliminate a number of itemized deductions. Making those changes gives us a tax code that is simpler and fairer. These changes our sales, income and business taxes will be competitive with other states in the region.
In that spirit, we will again propose a series of measures that give cities and towns greater authority over local decisions. That includes raising new revenue through a modest meals and lodging tax, eliminating the outdated exemption the phone company enjoys from paying the same local property taxes everyone else has to pay, and encouraging as much regionalization of local services as practical. If we cannot provide direct aid, let's at least untie the hands of local communities to capture the savings and raise the revenue within their reach. Let's enact a municipal reform package this spring.
PATRICK: Well, no is the answer to that. I think itís a mistake to roll the income tax back to 5% right now. I think we can do it but we have to grow the economy so that we can afford to do it. I think its interesting to be lectured on taxes by the Lt. Gov., whose administration is responsible for $985 million of new taxes and fees. Thatís whatís come from this administration. What I want to do is cut the property tax. I want to expand the senior exemption for property taxes and the circuit breaker. I want to extend them to low and moderate income home owners. I want to eliminate all those nuisance fees for playing on a high school team or parking in the school parking lot, and I want to restore local aid so we can get property taxes down and keep them down.
HEALEY: By rolling back the income tax weíll put more money into working peoplesí pockets, and I have a plan to take pressure off our local taxes as well by reforming our pension system, and allowing our cities and towns to invest their pensions with our state treasurerís office. That will take literally hundreds of millions of dollars that is wasted right now and put it back onto the plate of our cities and towns and that will relieve the pressure on local taxes.
PATRICK: Weíve been playing the fiscal shell game with this administration. This is an administration that talks about rolling the income tax back and is responsible at the same time for proposing $985 million in new taxes and increased fees. $1.8 billion in increases in property taxes. Thatís all about shifting the burden. Letís be clear and candid with each other. People are ready for the truth. We can afford a 5% income rate when the economy has expanded to enable it.
PATRICK: Small wonder people say, give me my money back. But the tax to cut, is the property tax. Thatís the one squeezing people, and the only way to do that is to that is to restore state aid to cities and towns. And the only way to do that is to postpone the income tax and invest in ourselves.
REILLY: No one has a right on taxes to substitute your judgment for the will of the voters.
GABRIELI: I disagree with Deval [as saying] ďhereís what you canít do.Ē Iíve put forward a can-do plan: We can cut the income tax by taking 40% of income growth [towards tax cuts], and leave 40% in there for continuing local aid and investments. But I can hold down the property taxes just as well. I donít think we should ignore the voters.
The sharp disagreement occurred during a face-to-face meeting between the two men before a key constituency--local officials. ĎíI am not in favor of any additional tax burdens on the people of Massachusetts,ď Reilly told the local officials.
But Patrick said he would support increases on what are known as local-option taxes, saying they would help cities and towns manage their budgets without having to raise local property taxes. ĎíIím interested in trusting you -- the local officials,ď Patrick said. ĎíI know whatís happening in your communities.Ē
The nation's governors urge you to include state countercyclical funding as part of your legislation to stimulate the economy. This would include $6 billion in Medicaid assistance by freezing scheduled federal FMAP reductions and increasing all states' F Congress approved $20 billion in assistance to states, including $10 billion in Medicaid and $10 billion in block grants. The governors' current stimulus proposal is essentially the same, with the exception that it is a total of $12 billion as opposed to $20 billion. This proposal can be enacted quickly, as there is precedent and it is timely, temporary and targeted.
Additionally, governors appreciate federal efforts to use tax policy to get additional money into the hands of consumers and businesses to stimulate the economy. When considering tax changes to spur economic growth, governors urge Congress and the Administration to follow the maxim of "Do no harm" by avoiding changes at the federal level that would diminish state tax revenues or force state actions that would undermine the effectiveness of federal efforts.
We look forward to working with you to enact the appropriate stimulus program.
|Other candidates on Tax Reform:||Deval Patrick on other issues:|
2020 Presidential Democratic Primary Candidates:
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
2020 GOP and Independent Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (Libertarian-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (Libertarian-MD)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld (L-NY,R-MA)
External Links about Deval Patrick:
2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)