NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 23, 2013

Patrick defends new 'big data' sales tax

BOSTON — Sensing a political moment unlikely to come around again soon, Gov. Deval Patrick on Wednesday said he has not yet resigned himself to accepting anything less than the $1.9 billion in new revenue he has requested to invest in education and transportation.

The governor also rejected new criticisms of his revenue plan lobbed by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation that a new sales tax on “Big Data” and software solutions would hurt the state’s tech industry and overall business climate. Patrick’s budget counts on $265 million from the tax code change.

“Though we are asking people to pay a little bit more, we are assuring people they will get a lot more,” Patrick told reporters after huddling for about an hour with more than a dozen Massachusetts business leaders and economists supportive of his plan to generate new revenue through a series of tax reforms and rate changes.

“There’s also a consensus here that the $1.9 billion we have proposed is the right number for transportation and education and we should try as much as possible to land there,” he said.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo has committed to finding a new revenue stream to support investments in transportation and infrastructure, but as spring arrives he has yet to produce a plan or settle on a revenue number that he says should be smaller than Patrick’s.

“We are unlikely as a state government to go back to the people any time soon to ask for additional tax increases. I just think this is it for a time,” said Patrick, who has less than two years remaining in his second term.

And for the record, the governor assured that he has not changed his mind about seeking a third term, despite an errant joke that for a fleeting moment had the political establishment and Twitter abuzz on Wednesday.

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