Patrick declined to say whether he would support a new revenue package that did not provide for increased education spending, but used descriptive terms to outline the choices lawmakers face if they don’t support higher taxes.
He said he believes most in the Legislature agree with his priorities, but need to be convinced that paying more now will deliver economic growth in the future.
“The consequences of that are that 30,000 three- and four year-olds get told by Beacon Hill we can’t do anything for you, we can’t do anything to make your future brighter, to help you reach your potential,” Patrick said.
He continued, “We tell young people in middle schools that are underperforming that we can’t afford to do what’s necessary to prepare you for the work force. We tell the business community that you’re going to have to look elsewhere to meet your workforce needs. We tell middle-class families we can’t do anything and won’t do anything to help your kids pay for their college. I think we’re better than that.”
Rep. Carl Sciortino, a Medford Democrat and chair of the Progressive Caucus, said progressive Democrats were still considering their amendment options in preparation of Monday’s expected debate on taxes and revenue.
Education Committee Co-chair Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley) said new investments in education were not completely off the table, even though the tax proposal is focused on funding transportation.
“I think the governor’s budget was very generous with respect to education and I’d be very surprised to see those numbers reflected in the House budget, but I’m hopeful to see some modest increases in some of the areas,” Peisch said.
UMass officials have also been watching the Legislature closely, indicating earlier this year that the governor’s proposal and his commitment to try to ratchet up state investment to cover 50 percent of the system operating expenses would forestall tuition and fee hikes in September.