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April 5, 2013

Governor calls tax plan 'pretend fix'


In a memo obtained by the News Service to several of his Cabinet secretaries on Thursday, Patrick asked his deputies to prepare within 30 days a list of capital projects that could be cancelled or postponed, including those already underway, and the cost of shutting them down.

“While the process of reaching final legislation is on-going, we should be prepared to curtail current transportation, business development, environmental, recreational and other infrastructure investments should the Legislature’s proposal carry the day,” Patrick wrote in the memo.

The governor and his staff would not speculate on whether they could muster support in the House or the Senate to sustain a veto, but the possibility exists that the leaders in either branches could fail to rally the two-thirds margin needed to overturn Patrick’s rejection of the financing plan as written. Under that scenario, no bill would pass.

Asked whether he was prepared to accept and explain to voters a 19 percent fare increase on the MBTA threatened by the agency if new funding does not arrive, Patrick said it was a consequence he was willing to risk.

“I cannot ask people all over the Commonwealth to pay to fix the T alone. It’s not fair. We have been asking people everywhere else but in downtown Boston to eat the cost of the Big Dig and we’ve been asking them in two ways, the main way by starving investment everywhere else,” Patrick said.

The speaker said people are “fiscally concerned” about the governor’s planned elimination of deductions, and also reiterated concerns raised by bond rating agencies about the governor’s overreliance on income tax revenue, a multi-year borrowing plan and a drawdown from the rainy day fund.

“It’s not the House and the Senate plan that is talking about the increase to the income tax. It’s not the House and the Senate plan that is talking about elimination of many of the deductions that people presently get, whether they be for education, whether they be for the selling of the home..,” DeLeo said.

“We’re trying to protect the middle class. That is I think one of the major differences of the two plans,” DeLeo said.

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