A statewide coalition of elected officials and community leaders this week joined in Governor Deval Patrick’s call for broad investment in the Commonwealth’s economic future – including new revenue for improvements in education, transportation and job creation initiatives. Hundreds of advocates from the Campaign for Our Communities rallied at the State House Tuesday, calling on government leaders to support major investments to improve the strength of the Massachusetts economy and overall quality of life for area residents. The broad coalition, representing more than 120 community-based organizations, was joined by Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston) and Representative Jim O’Day (D-West Boylston) – two consistent champions of community investment.
Governor Patrick responded Wednesday in his seventh annual State of the Commonwealth address, outlining a bold vision to strengthen our Commonwealth by making substantial investments in our schools, roads, bridges and transit systems. The proposal raises significant revenue for local communities – nearly $2 billion overall – through commonsense, progressive tax reforms that hold down increases for low and middle-income families and seniors. Thousands of family-supporting jobs would be created in the process.
While full details on the initiative won’t be announced until the governor’s budget address in the coming week, both Patrick and the Campaign for Our Communities expressed broad agreement on the overall goal: building a strong economy for future generations through a well-educated workforce, well-maintained roads, good public transit systems and safe neighborhoods. Given years of budget and job cuts fueled by the economic downturn, there is no doubt additional revenue will be needed to ensure these programs are fully funded.
To potential critics, Patrick presented a simple truth: “Opportunity requires growth, and growth requires investment.” Millions of working families and seniors across the Commonwealth would no doubt agree, and the proposals put forward this week are an important first step in creating real economic opportunities – both for current generations and those to come.
For more information on the Act to Invest in Our Communities and other proposals to grow the Massachusetts economy, visit www.OurCommunities.org.
Stephany is the spokesman for MassUniting – a coalition of community groups, faith organizations and worker advocates united in the fight for good jobs, corporate accountability and stronger communities. Find out more at www.MassUniting.org.