Jim Peters on why he’ll vote for Deval Patrick

Jim Peters sent a blog post explaining why he’ll be voting for Deval Patrick on November 2:

Deval Patrick is an enigma. A poor boyhood, with an apparently protective mother, led to scholarships at the most prestigious of universities and a life during which he learned to enjoy things that I would never taste. He and I grew up in practically the same spot in and out of Chicago, but while he was going to Harvard, I was going to Lowell State College. I appreciated my college, in fact, I have sung its praises in this column many times. I understand that Mr. Patrick appreciated his opportunities too, as he has continuously refered to them in his many speeches on a favorite subject, education.

Let us look on the Deval Patrick emphasis on education. Massachusetts’ children are the recipients of the best education in the United States. That was not true under Jane Swift or Paul Cellucci. That is relatively recent and the result of the Democratic Party’s emphasis on education for all of our children. Having been a teacher for twenty years, I had the opportunity to try to implement the Republican changes to our educational structure and the Democratic ones. The Democratic ones stressed commitment, cooperation, and change. The Republican effort resulted in the ill-defined and underfunded “No Child Left Behind” program.

I am stressing the state’s reaction to a Democratic challenge to educational professionals and the Republican response to a national program, but I never heard of a Republican governor, and there have been many more Republican governors in my time in Massachusetts than Democratic ones, challenging the federal government under George Bush to come up with pertinent and measurable changes to the federal programs of the Republican administration. In my mind, the Republicans marched in lock-step formation behind the often childish challenges of the Republican administration.

Now let’s talk about taxes. We pay them and sometimes the weight of them seems unfair, especially when compared to the system that is to the north of us. No sales tax. Let me enlighten you, in most states in the Union there is a sales tax on clothing and groceries, two staples for the average family. In Massachusetts, no sales tax on those items. We do have an income tax, which New Hampshire does not have, but our property taxes are offset by our income tax. We do not come close to paying the taxes on property that our favorite state to the north pays (although Vermont and Maine may be upset to know that, in my uneducated opinion, they are not our favorite state to the north). We have an initiative petition system that allows us to actively participate in government. In New Hampshire, you pay a very solid tax on alcohol. That is true in Massachusetts, too. But, an initiative petition, Question 1, will probably pass and allow us to overturn the Massachusetts Sales Tax on alcohol. That is one tax few people are willing to pay and here we have the right to overturn it. In fact, we have often been asked to overturn our taxes, but seldomly has that happened.

We have a turnpike and the resultant tolls, but it is not the backbone of our tax revenue collection system that it is in many other states. In areas where most states would have toll roads, we can ride without paying tolls. One tax that I do find abhorrent is the tax increase on fishing licenses and other sportsmanlike pursuits put in place by Mitt Romney, the man who abandoned Massachusetts obstensibly to move out west in order to have a stronger base from which to run for President. That one, as a person who enjoys outdoor pursuits, really got to me. And, it had nothing to do with Deval Patrick.

So what is Deval Patrick’s problem with taxes? Well he increased the sales tax on hardline and some softline items. It went up by a puzzling percentage. Probably not a wise political move, right? Well, the increase is being used for education, and we have already covered that. We spend on education but we have something to show for it, smart kids.

Taxes then, are the bane of our existence. That much can hardly be argued. But Deval Patrick did not invent them and has used them to get results.

Every state wants to have the lowest re-employment rate. Which one has it? Massachusetts. Every state wants to be seen as a bellweather state for green environmental initiatives. Which one is? Massachusetts. Every state wants to be seen as safe. Now on that one, I am a little fuzzy because we have murders in Massachusetts that defy explanation. Like the one recently in Boston in which the victims were forced to take off their clothes and were shot, naked, execution-style. But basically, we are a fairly safe state to live in. Every state wants to be seen as having made good investments. And Moody’s has placed Massachusetts high on their list.

The fact is that Deval Patrick has done everything he said he would do four years ago. Yes, he increased taxes, but he got results. Yes, he antagonized a good portion of the Commonwealth when he altered the Governor’s Office, but again, the results were impressive and there is nothing in the rule books that say you have to sit on a lawn chair at a collapsable table to show that you know how to save money. The Governor’s Office, in my opinion, should look good. I was a little upset about the car thing, but I got over it. So, as you have probably surmised, I have come to the conclusion that I can vote for Deval Patrick and Tim Murray. But, I would have done that just on the casino issue.