EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 6, 2013

Dempsey: 'Highly unlikely' house will go above $500M on new taxes


The legislative leadership’s plan includes nearly a quarter billion dollars of new taxes on businesses with the remainder raised by taxes on tobacco and gas.

Patrick wants to raise the income tax, lower the sales tax and enact a long menu of other tax code changes that he says will result in wealthier individuals paying the bulk of new taxes.

Patrick on Thursday vowed to veto the plan put forward by House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray, calling it too small to address the state’s needs, saying it hits middle class taxpayers, and labeling it a “pretend fix” to a problem of underfunded infrastructure that has been neglected for years.

In a letter to supporters emailed through his political action committee yesterday, Patrick urged the public to call their legislators and weigh in whether they support his plan or theirs.

“I don’t see how it’s either good policy or good politics to raise taxes on everybody without being able to show that you’re delivering something at home. By proposing a pretend solution rather than a real one, the Legislature is kicking the can down the road again.

“That is a slow-growth or a no-growth choice. It does not bear our generational responsibility. And I will not support it,” he wrote in the email.

Dempsey said the Democratic leadership plan was “sensitive to the economic climate, sensitive to the middle class and one that is well balanced and provides for significant funding for transportation.”

He added that it would be “very, very challenging” to get support for additional revenue increases above $500 million. Asked if the challenge was a political one, Dempsey said, “Absolutely. People are very sensitive to the economic climate.”

Patrick on Thursday and again on Friday said he remained open to resuming negotiations with House and Senate leaders, and supported the idea first pushed last week by Republicans of public hearings on the tax plan. House members rejected the call for a public hearing on the bill this week as they teed up the tax plan for debate Monday.

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