Watch now for the following progression:
Like the week of the last "cuts," immediately before the November election, we will hear the word "pain" used constantly to describe the supposed impact of the "difficult decisions" the Governor is making. We will hear very little about actual cuts.
Despite all of the "pain," we will not hear about the Governor cutting: (a) his new DC and Western Mass offices; (b) his multi-million-dollar "Commonwealth Corps" volunteerism program; or (c) his bloated staff (whose salaries exceed those paid to Romney's staff by orders of magnitude).
By "coincidence," today Patrick's "blue-ribbon commission" charged with coming up with ways to pay for his multi-billion dollar "Readiness Project" education reform package will issue its report, calling for a hike in the sales tax.
Patrick will bite his lip and furrow his brow, talk a little bit more about "efficiencies," and then proclaim his reforms to be of "critical importance" for "our children" (he believes the children are our future). He'll "reluctantly" go along with the sales tax hike, labeling it an "investment."
Once that horse breaks free of the barn, we'll have a stampede of "new revenue" proposals, from "local option" taxes to a gas tax increase to yet another corporate tax hike and, finally, an increase in the income tax.
I hope I am wrong, but since his campaign - when he promised far more in spending than he could possibly deliver - I have expected Patrick to head down the tax-increase path. Once he started down that road (with last year's billion-plus hike on business), the end point (income tax hike) became almost inevitable. With no viable minority party presence in our government and a mass media that is - with rare exception - enthusiastically on-board with tax hikes, we taxpayers don't stand a chance.
If we are lucky - and I use that word with more than a bit of irony - Patrick's efforts to jack taxes in the midst of a recession will "succeed" to a degree sufficient to break through our electorate's stupor in time for November 2010.
The "Readiness Project" funding panel report is in. This from the State House News (emphasis mine):
READINESS PANEL SEES NEED FOR "ADDITIONAL FUNDS" | Additional funds will be necessary to maintain basic educational services and to pursue "vital" investments in public education but any revenue-generating measures should be tied to restructuring and cost-saving reforms, according to the final report of Gov. Deval Patrick's Readiness Finance Commission. Commission members are calling for the immediate commencement of cost savings strategies. But the commission, saying savings alone won't be enough, found increasing the sales tax the "most viable" of the revenue-generating options discussed, with the other revenue sources eyed being the gas tax, the income tax, interest and dividend taxes, and the licensing of casinos. ... The commission, in its conclusions, said the education sector "needs to be a top priority for the state, and represents a worthwhile, indeed critical, investment for the long-term growth and success of the Commonwealth."Hold on to your wallet.