Boston Globe: Sen. Eldridge Makes the Case for Graduated MA Income Taxes

Excerpted from the Boston Globe.


JamieEldridge.jpgShould the state adopt a graduated income tax?

Yes 

State senator James Eldridge, an Acton Democrat

Last week, I filed a constitutional amendment to create a graduated, or progressive income tax that would allow us to invest in our communities to ensure a quality public education for every child in Massachusetts, improve our transportation infrastructure, provide police and fire protection to keep our neighborhoods safe, and enhance public and individual health.

Unfortunately, our current tax system is not doing that. Local aid has been cut 40 percent compared to a decade ago, our state has hundreds of roads and bridges in disrepair while our public transportation system ages, many police and fire departments have laid off staff, and hospitals and medical clinics continue to close across the state.

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Bill Taylor, PM Member, in the Boston Globe

Haverhill resident and Progressive Mass member Bill Taylor wrote an opinion piece for the Boston Globe. You can read the published version here, and a longer, original draft below.


billt.jpg"Will the election of Charlie Baker as governor improve Massachusetts?"

No.

During his campaign, Governor-elect Charlie Baker promised to smartly reform government spending, reduce the supposed culture of dependency and abuse in the welfare system, and never, ever raise taxes.  He argued that his experiences in the Weld and Cellucci administrations and private sector made him uniquely qualified to deliver on those promises and tackle the state’s most pressing, complex issues.  But tackling these issues takes much more than flimsy campaign rhetoric, and his track record as a policymaker suggests that he won’t be up to the task.

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Can We Talk About Real Revenue Reform Now?

pothole.jpgOn November 4, Massachusetts voted to defund road and bridge repair, by eliminating the 'indexing' on the gas tax, part of the flawed and inadequate "Transportation Funding Package" passed in Spring 2013. Jim Aloisi rightly points out in the Boston Globe that this is an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and get transportation funding right this time: 

ON ITS FACE, last Tuesday was a bleak day for anyone who rides a train or a bus around Boston. Massachusetts voters overturned a new law that would have ratcheted up the state’s gas tax at regular intervals, and they installed in the governor’s office Charlie Baker, who doesn’t want to backfill the hole the gas tax repeal will leave behind. This should be a recipe for more broken trains, fewer buses, shoddier transit service, and ever-worsening traffic in and around Boston.

But it’s also a blessing in disguise. The gas tax repeal took the stuffing out of a weak transportation finance package that the Legislature enacted last year.

Beacon Hill now has a chance to take a second run at the issue, and get it right this time. 

We agree -- and believe now is the time to revisit the fundamental questions of the 2012-2013 "Our Communities" campaign, not just for transportation infrastructure (which is fundamentally important) but for all the services and infrastructure that make our Commonwealth communities great places to live and work. 
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2014 - Meet the Progressives of November 4


It’s an open Massachusetts secret that despite our marquee liberals on the national stage, when it comes to the state level, we’re not nearly as progressive as we could be. When you look at our skewed tax burdens, austerity budgeting and legislation attacking the poor, one can credibly make the case that the State House governs as if the Commonwealth were center-right.

What IS true is that there’s a strong progressive sentiment in Massachusetts residents. It’s just that we’ve got a ways to go to get the Legislature to govern like Elizabeth Warren.

This is why our work together pushing legislators through grassroots to take bold progressive action, and our legislative efforts, highlighting votes in our scorecard and lobbying at the State House, is so important.

This work isn't quick or easy. Progressives clocked in some wins last session, but we are still waiting to see the kind of great, bold legislative leadership that should come from Massachusetts. Last session we had to play bruising defense against punishing legislative attacks on the poor. And, our advances on the minimum wage and election reform were harder fought than it should’ve been, and we didn’t quite get far enough (no indexing on minimum wage, no same-day voter registration).

Improving our prospects at the State House requires herculean reforms for long-term change -- including increasing transparency and leveraging a wholesale shift in the culture of power under the Golden Dome.

In the short term, what we can do is help to elect MORE progressive legislators -- to strengthen the fighters already there, and show the power-brokers on the Hill and in the press that the voters want bold progressive change.

Engaging at the Legislative level has challenges, however. While most voters have had at least some exposure to the high-profile races via television ads, it’s a lot harder to get a fix on legislative races.

But, just as we know the national figures and races -- like Bernie Sanders or Zephyr Teachout -- who champion our values and wage insurgent progressive campaigns, we should know the names and faces of their counterparts on Beacon Hill. That’s why we’re doing this “get to know” series.

Check in here weekly as we highlight critical races important to progressives, no matter where you are in the Commonwealth.

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General Election Endorsements and Recommendations

As we move forward to November 4th, we must continue to fight for bold, progressive change and help elect better and more progressive elected officials to Beacon Hill. We know that when we speak up and organize, we bend the arc toward equality and justice for all. Please support our endorsed and recommended legislative* candidates in the General Election: 

Statewide Offices

  • Martha Coakley for Governor
  • Steve Kerrigan for Lt. Governor
  • Maura Healey for Attorney General
  • Deb Goldberg for Treasurer

Mass. Legislature

DON'T SEE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR YOUR LEGISLATIVE RACES? Help us do something about it! click here!

* Of our primary endorsements for statewide offices, Maura Healey won the Democratic nomination for Atty. General! 

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Ask Your Candidates to Complete a Progressive Mass Questionnaire

Get_answers.jpgDon't see a Progressive Mass recommendation for your local races?

With two hundred Legislative seats up for re-election every two years, many of which feature uncontested races where the incumbent is guaranteed to win, Progressive Mass by necessity must zero in only on select races which meet a constellation of criteria, such as whether there is an opportunity to elect a more progressive legislator, among other things, as well as considerations about our membership.

However, legislative races can be among the most frustrating to navigate.

Unlike statewide races like the Governor, there's little coverage on the candidates in the media, and as we have outlined elsewhere, it is challenging to find digestible information about an incumbent's voting record.  Campaign websites offer the most information, but are understandably limited to whatever the candidates think is the putting the best foot forward.

In short, it's a challenge for the average voter to know where to turn or where to find useful material to help her vote, in large measure because that information doesn't exist!

Someday, we hope to have have enough resources to solicit completed questionnaires from all legislative candidates.

In the meantime, we encourage you to send our legislative questionnaire to your local candidates, and if you get responses, we will happily share them for public reference!

Find links to the questionnaire, here: progma.us/diyq2014

Even for incumbents running unopposed, we think voters asking legislators to go on record on our shared progressive priorities is an extremely valuable opportunity -- for voters, for the candidate and for your community.

If you request questionnaire responses from candidates in your legislative district, please drop us a line!

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Labor Day Parade Video!

Here is a video from the Labor Day Parade in Marlborough from activist Dhruba Sen!

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YesOn4MA

yeson4mashaina.jpegWe have been working on the Raise Up Massachusetts Campaign with 100 other faith, community, and labor organizations across the Commonwealth to provide a raise in the minimum wage and access to earned time off for all workers. A few months ago, we won on minimum wage, raising it to $11 over three years. But there has still been no legislative action on Earned Sick Time.

That’s why we are going to pass it on the ballot on November 4th.

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Primary Legislative Recommendations

sept_9.jpgOur recommended slate of primary candidates: Christine Barber for 34th Middlesex State Rep, Mike Day for 31st Middlesex State Rep, Ivette Hernandez for 10th Hampden State Rep, Mary Keefe for 15th Worcester State Rep, Steve Ultrino for 33rd Middlesex State Rep, Jessica Finocchiaro for First Essex State Senator, and Dylan Hayre for Norfolk, Bristol, and Middlesex State Senator.

Each of the following candidates is dedicated to our progressive values, and will be fighters for our shared prosperity agenda on Beacon Hill.

In these races, every vote counts. Please sign up here to volunteer on a campaign!

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Christine Barber Endorsed by CSfC and Medford4MA!

Christine_Barber_WEB_1.jpgThis past spring, longtime supporter and Progressive Massachusetts legislative ally Representative Carl Sciortino stepped down from his seat in the Statehouse. Progressive Massachusetts Chapters Cambridge-Somerville for Change and Medford4MA joined local community group Progressive Dems of Somerville to endorse one of the five candidates running to take Carl’s seat for State Representative of the 34th Middlesex District (which includes parts of Medford and Somerville).

We held a rigorous endorsement process for State Representative of the 34th Middlesex District -- a candidate questionnaire (which Christine Barber and Sharon Guzick completed) and a forum featuring the two candidates.

We are pleased to announce that all three groups -- and Progressive Massachusetts -- voted overwhelmingly to endorse Christine Barber for State Representative for 34th Middlesex.

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