Will the people of Massachusetts get the recovery they deserve, or any recovery at all?
That’s the question we should be asking now with news that there are roughly 19,000 more Massachusetts residents working in May. These figures are a blip of good news for a state that has lost more than 100,000 jobs in three years.
In a survey of 600 CEOs nationwide, Chief Executive magazine ranked 46 states as better places to do business than Massachusetts. Massachusetts has changed its corporate tax law three times in the past five years; added new taxes to telephone poles, alcohol, satellite television and restaurants; and increased the sales tax by 25 percent. Unfortunately, our reputation has been well-earned in recent years.
If pro-growth measures and spending reforms are implemented a reduction of the deficit will occur and jobs will be created in Massachusetts. I have a plan.
First, fundamental reforms must be enacted. We cannot have a full and robust recovery without harnessing the millions of dollars in savings that will be released through reform of our Medicaid system, our public contract laws, local government health care plans and our pension systems.
Second, we need to undo the damage wrought by anti-growth decisions made during the recession. The sales tax hike must be reversed and returned to 5 percent.
Third, the commonwealth’s citizens and businesses need tax relief to spur a sharp, sustainable recovery. The income tax rate needs to be returned to 5 percent, as voters demanded a decade ago.
Finally, recent scandals and revelations of rampant waste and patronage have convinced the commonwealth’s citizens that Beacon Hill cannot be trusted. The kind of change that they have been promised — and repeatedly denied — is long overdue.
While last month’s job numbers represent a sliver of good news, Massachusetts can — and must — do better. By tackling our deficit, reducing taxes and creating a stable, business-friendly environment we can ensure that our recovery is both broad and lasting to give the people of Massachusetts the recovery they deserve.
– The Republican candidate for governor, Charlie Baker is the former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.
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