Letter: On Beacon Hill, little appetite for political risk

The political stakes around revenue are climbing, as Leadership, the legislature and the Governor continue to defend and negotiatetheir positions — to apply a short-term fix to transportation only, or fairly raise taxes in order to invest in education, human services, transportation and infrastructure. In Needham, Progressive Mass organizer Stacie Shapiro weighs in with her letter to the local paper:

Letter to the Needham Times, 4/11/2013 - 

The Speaker of the House recently claimed that there’s little appetite for a tax increase on Beacon Hill. A more accurate statement would be that there’s little appetite for political risk-taking on Beacon Hill.

It’s not surprising, considering we live in a country where our political leaders are less afraid to ask young people to go to war to protect our interests, than they are to ask wealthy people to go to the bank for the same purpose.

In fact, over the past 13 years, millionaires and billionaires have seen nothing but tax breaks, despite an increasing deficit and an economic recession.

Here in Massachusetts, we can no longer afford the cost of a legislature that fears the political backlash of tax increases. And, we can no longer do business as usual: making cuts to programs and services, and balancing the budget on the backs of our most vulnerable.

This economic strategy defies common sense. Not simply because it consistently takes from those who have the least to give, but also because it clearly doesn’t create a better economy. It doesn’t create new jobs. It doesn’t allow for investments in education or infrastructure. And, it doesn’t prepare us for the future.

It’s time to use reason and common sense to solve our economic problems. In Massachusetts, this means putting support behind a budget plan closer to the Governor’s or the bill “An Act to Invest in Our Communities”. We must plan that changes the regressive nature of our tax structure and raises enough revenue to meet our budgetary needs. The transportation funding bill does none of these things.

If there’s any hope for this to happen, people need to speak up. Please consider contacting your legislators and asking them to do what’s necessary to restore the present and secure the future of our Commonwealth. And, be sure to let them know that you will stand by them if they take the political risk.

Stacie Shapiro
Needham MA

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