The tax increases Gov. Deval Patrick has requested will be used to invest in places like education and transportation in an effort to boost the state's economy, he said Thursday morning after an event at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown.
In his budget proposal, released Wednesday, Patrick asked for an increase in the income tax - while cutting the sales tax - as a way to get more revenue for the state. He will have to make the case to Massachusetts residents that the money will not just go into old programs.
"That’s part of my job, which is to make it clear to people that we are asking that they contribute more, but it is in order to get more," Patrick said. "This is a budget about growth, and growing job opportunity. By investing in education and by investing in transportation we will get that both in the short term and in the long term."
Patrick spoke after he attended a meeting of the Elder Book Group at Perkins Braille & Talking Book Library, where he was invited to read from his book "A Reason to Believe." He spoke to a room full of students, residents and others at the school.
Standing in Dwight Hall, the main building at Perkins, the governor talked about the importance of education.
"Investing in education may be the single most important thing the public and the Legislature does," Patrick said. "It’s the single best long-term investment."
Patrick noted that Chapter 70 funding has increased every year, sometimes with the help of Federal Stimulus dollars. Now, he would like to see more targeted funding in education.
"What we are proposing to do now is take the level of achievement to the next level," Patrick said. "Make targeted investments in early childhood education and longer school time - extended learning time - in high need schools in the middle school, and make college affordable. Through that we can close achievement gaps."
As commuters faced long delays on the Green Line Wednesday, Patrick pointed to transportation as another key place to invest. He said the MBTA is in need of improvements to modernize the system.
"When they do (invest the money) it will be modern T system. And when there is an electric shortage at Arlington (Station) it doesn’t back it all the way out to Newton," Patrick said.
He envisions more modern equipment and electronics, as well as ways to let people know in real time when the trains or buses are coming, to make a 21st Century transportation system.
"This is not about a luxury. It is about doing what people need and deserve to have a modern, growing economy," Patrick said. "We have to make these types of investments in the Boston area and all across the Commonwealth."