Compact for A True Commonwealth


The message of the last election is clear.  The people of Massachusetts said that it’s time to invest to create jobs and opportunity for the middle class and for people striving to enter the middle class. Here in Massachusetts, we must translate this mandate into reality at the state level.

Progressive Mass has spent some time working with several progressive legislators, drafting our view of what this election means for Massachusetts. We intend to use this document as a basis for setting our legislative priorities over the course of the next session. It is a first attempt to translate our belief statements into policy.

Tell us what you think!

At the Crossroads: The Compact for A True Commonwealth

With our overwhelming vote for Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren, on November 6, 2012, the people of Massachu­setts declared that it’s time to invest, to create jobs and opportunity for the middle class and for people striving to enter the middle class. We pronounced the old scheme—cutting taxes on the wealthy and creating special tax breaks for insiders—a failure. We affirmed, as President Obama and Elizabeth Warren have argued, that the economy must grow from the middle outwards. We have no more tolerance for warmed over “trickle-down” policies.

Investing in our economy from the middle out is the national mandate for President Obama in his second term and Elizabeth Warren in her first. And it is the mandate for the Commonwealth, too: we must enact these policies and strengthen this vision at the local and state level.

We already know how to do it: after World War II, we built the strongest economy and proudest middle class in history by investing in healthy communities and education, developing infrastructure, and partnering public investment with private industry.

Massachusetts has the economic engine, creative and intellectual capital, environment, historic models, energy and inspiration to reinvest in, re-create and grow a true Common Wealth. We can build more opportunity and more equity, better prospects and greater justice. We can return to our foundational ideals that shaped our state and then defined our nation. We can use the power and strength of our economy to shape a better society.

We do this by investing in people

  • Deepening our commitment to affordable, first rate, public education for all children, regardless of where they live
  • Recommitting to making public higher education affordable
  • Valuing jobs that support families, their security and stability by paying a living wage
  • Training workers in skills for the good paying jobs we have

We do this by investing in jobs and the middle-class

  • Supporting businesses and entrepreneurs who remain rooted in our communities—not by offering advantages and incentives to corporations that extract our wealth and resources
  • Recognizing and developing our unique competitive advantages, growing the industries that will give us advantages for decades to come, ensuring that our regulatory permitting processes foster small businesses and start-ups
  • Valuing Labor’s critical role in decisions about corporate governance, social priorities, working conditions and wages

We do this by investing in infrastructure

  • Modernizing our public transportation system and ensuring the funding is adequate to keep fares affordable
  • Improving roadways, bridges and digital highways, drivers of economic growth
  • Maintaining our role as a global leader in research, technology and clean 
  • Reorienting our thinking, spending today’s dollars on tomorrow—rather than spending tomorrow’s dollars today

We do this by fairly and adequately
funding our government

  • Updating our tax code to reflect today’s economy
  • Unapologetically raising the revenue we need to grow and prosper as a Commonwealth
  • Raising this new revenue primarily from highest earners and shielding working families and seniors from increased burden

We can do this

We have done it before. With leadership, political courage and grassroots advocacy, we will do it now, again.

For over 200 years, we have led the nation, always by investing in the future and with a deep sense of obligation to democratic self-determination and the community good:

  • Our state government and Constitution became a sturdy model for the nation
  • We created the first public park in our new country, and we called it Boston Commons
  • We founded the first public schools, built the first public transportation system
  • We were first legalize marriage for all, the first to offer health care insurance for all

This Compact is offered in the spirit of these inspiring firsts. We aim to be both pragmatic and idealistic, detailing specific ways to realize a common vision for our Commonwealth. We call on our legislators to make 2012’s promise a reality—and on our fellow citizens to insist that they do.

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