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View Diary: The Governor Who Did the Right Thing (266 comments)

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  •  Very Pleasant Reading (17+ / 0-)

    I have no idea why Deval Patrick is so unpopular but I know if I were a Massachusetts voter I would feel real good about him today.

    Best,  Terry

    •  He's a very good governor (15+ / 0-)

      who doesn't handle the press very well.  All governors take the blame when the economy goes down, and that's most of Patrick's problem.  But from my experiences recently working with the state, he's making a real effort to fix some long-standing structural problems in the executive branch.  Massachusetts has traditionally had lousy government.  It's a bunch of warring fiefdoms, with too much control by legislative leaders, and the general attitude is that jobs are all patronage, not merit.  So it's hard to fix.  But he's trying.

      Also, he shares a problem with Obama; a certain sector of the populace has an ethnic prejudice against him.

      •  But some of the tax schemes he's floated (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladybug53, Uberbah

        (if they were reported correctly by press and NPR) seemed designed to turn away the people who voted for him.  When people are losing their jobs, suggesting a massive gasoline tax hike of something like 29 cents per gallon  (as he did last year) would seem a no-starter.  Keep raising rates for every way to get to work for those who DO work (mass transit, gasoline, tolls) while also increasing expense for those who are out of work or looking for work--tends to get citizen attention, and not in a good way!

        Maybe that's why I like this story.  It does show an understanding of day-to-day problems of living.

        "Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand." - Thomas Carlyle

        by revsue on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 12:18:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Gas taxes would have been helpful (3+ / 0-)

          Massachusetts has very low fuel taxes -- it doesn't even cover the cost of state transportation projects.  I make it a habit to tank up here before driving into nearby states, like Connecticut and New York, whose rates are much higher.  (NJ is very low though.)

          Higher gas taxes encourage smaller cars and even public transit use, which is available in much of the state.  What we got instead was a hike in the general sales tax, from 5 to 6 1/4 percent, mainly to cover the Big Dig deficit.  So our general purchases are essentially subsidizing fuel-hungry SUVs.

          When fuel tax rate increases are predictable, people may respond by sticking to smaller cars, too. Low rates will encourage another SUV boom.

          •  Yes, but since lower-income folks (0+ / 0-)

            don't have the bucks or the credit to run out and buy new compact cars or hybrids, they get stuck with the used SUVs, trucks, and large cars on the used car lots.  

            So those in the top of the income range are happily tooling along in their 50 mpg vehicles, while the ones who serve the burgers, clean the floors, do the data-entry, etc. are stuck with a used 2004 SUV that got 10 mpg. when it was new and tuned up.  AND are paying thru the nose to fuel it, while pulling down minimum wage and extra tolls.

            Sorry, I hate the hike in the general sales tax--but can cut back a little bit more on what I buy.  Only get absolute necessities.  But if I want to get to work in my 8 year old small SUV (which gets 18-20 mpg and has 112,000 miles on it), I can't help paying for gas.  If I spend $100 per week in stores, I pay $1.25 more in sales tax.  Spend $200, it's $2.50.  
            Were I to buy gasoline at an extra 30 cents a gallon, just 10 gallons would have cost $3.00 more....and an older car with worse mileage--say 10 mpg--would only get 100 miles to drive out of that extra $3.00 in taxes.  I'm thinking that most families drive more than 100 miles per week to work, school, grocery, etc.  So while I'm all for getting the gas hogs off the road, unless the government is willing to provide financing for fuel efficient cars based upon need, it would be paying the (foolish, bloated) cost of the Big Dig by draining the meager income of the poorest.  

            "Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand." - Thomas Carlyle

            by revsue on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 07:28:12 PM PST

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            •  Over time rates need to rise (0+ / 0-)

              The "I can only afford a gaz-guzzling clunker" argument has been around for several generations of cars, and has encouraged the building of lots of big SUVs.  A 20c/gallon hike in the gas tax would have little net impact:  We had a $2/gallon hike in the price in 2008 and life went on, though SUV sales cratered.  However, that was disruptive to some people.

              So the best thing would be to raise the tax 10c now, and have automatic raises of say 5c/gallon for the next 10 years.  That would send a signal that $2/gallon retail gas wasn't going to return, and that you shouldn't buy a big truck to drive your little Boopsie to school in.

              And yes, it also discourages tract-home development in the exurbs and raises demand for housing near public transit, both good things.

    •  I also wonder (0+ / 0-)

      why he isn't liked.

      If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

      by Tamar on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 01:36:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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