By Sen. Jamie Eldridge
Gov. Patrick’s tax plan will benefit Worcester businesses and residents.
Last month, the governor laid out a bold and visionary tax reform proposal that will make critical investments in our transportation and education systems in order to stimulate economic growth and provide a long-term path to job creation in Massachusetts. His proposal to restructure our tax system includes raising the income tax to 6.25 percent while doubling the personal tax exemption and reducing the sales tax by more than 25 percent to 4.5 percent. Gov. Patrick’s proposal to raise revenue will particularly benefit Worcester County residents and business owners because a more progressive tax system will lower or maintain tax rates, while providing enough state funding to deliver the necessary services and skills that will be a catalyst to economic growth in the region.
In his State of the Commonwealth address, the governor laid out his revenue proposal, and asserted the need to have a “serious, fact-based debate” on the subject of taxes. Part of this debate is taking into consideration the key institutions and infrastructure that exist in Worcester due to public investment. Thanks to the leadership of Lt. Gov. Murray, Worcester has benefited from an improved transportation system, especially the revitalized Union Station, which better connects residents from all over Worcester County and Eastern Massachusetts.
Worcester is also a life sciences and biotech cluster due to investments by the state that began decades ago. For example, UMass Memorial Medical Center is one of the region’s top employers with state health care dollars playing a critical role in making it a world-renowned medical system. Finally, Worcester’s colleges and universities make it a hub of research and innovation, which has spawned hundreds of new small businesses under the direction of talented leaders and learners.
With these powerful examples of how public investment can help transform a city and stimulate economic growth, it’s critical for the business community, and especially business leaders, to give Gov. Patrick’s tax reform proposal serious consideration.
By making the critical investments in our transportation infrastructure, it will be easier for Worcester County residents to access the downtown area and establish quicker connections between those who live east or west of the region. For example, the city of Marlborough would develop much stronger connections to the businesses and educational institutions in Worcester if there were improved bus service between the two areas, as well as continued improvements going on now along the Worcester commuter rail line. In addition, significant improvements to aging roads and bridges in Worcester County will make it easier for business owners to reach their customers, and to more easily find new consumers.
Further, a serious boost of investment in education, both in K-12 and higher education, will greatly benefit the Worcester business community, as workers will graduate from high school or public universities with better job skills and will have greater consumer purchasing power, spurring more small business growth throughout Worcester County.