, Newburyport, MA

January 30, 2013

It's what the people want

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

I recall when my kids were toddlers. Whenever they overheard a conversation about money, budget and making choices on what we could or couldn’t afford, one of them would inevitably pipe up and say, “Just go to the (ATM) machine.” That’s what they knew … you need money; you go to the machine … problem solved.

Enter Deval Patrick and his request for $2 billion per year in tax increases! Why make choices when all you have to do is go to the machine … in this case the political machine driven by President Obama. Fresh off a renewed “spread the wealth” agenda that he trumpeted during his inaugural address, his devotee, Deval Patrick, has decided to follow suit and take this message to the Commonwealth.

At a time when we are still struggling to get unemployment to more normal rates … and only two years into an increased sales tax … Deval wants to do the old bait and switch. We’ll lower the sales tax to about where it was … but whack you on income tax and a whole lot more. For example, Deval proposes to tax you on the capital gains of your home. Plus, he is proposing the elimination of a bunch of your deductions. The icing on the cake is Deval’s positioning … “It’s what the people want,” he claims!

This situation was inevitable. In 2009 Obama tried to buy time and avoid the painful cuts all of us have to make when times turn tough. He helped the states, municipalities and unions avoid the fiscal pain by swinging a bunch of stimulus money to them. It was a gamble. Barack thought he could quickly right the economic ship; increased tax revenues would follow from an improved economy, and then we’d return to business as usual without having to make any cuts, tough choices or belt tightening. One problem … it hasn’t worked. So we’re back to “investing” … or taxes, as most of us call them.

This is not the usual slam dunk. Legislators are sitting back now taking a pulse … and you can elevate it. Write your state senator and representative. Let them know what you think. You just got whacked by the recent federal tax increases … and, yes, they did hit the middle class. Send the message that this is not what you want. The governor has us going in the wrong direction. Tell your legislators you don’t want to become the commonwealth’s ATM.

Jim Ragonese