• Polito: Get ready for the one-two punch


    By Fox 25 news commentator Jim Polito:

    Governor Deval Patrick had a ball celebrating the inauguration of his friend President Barack Obama and he's headed back home. Now comes the hangover. The party is over for all of us. The Governor's first duty will be to unveil his 2014 budget on Wednesday morning. Under normal circumstances, this requisite function of the Commonwealth's bureaucracy would receive moderate attention. However, the topic of this year's roadmap for state finances is hotter than a battery on a Boeing Dreamliner.
    With just two years left in office, the Governor got his mojo back and is boldly asking for more money from taxpayers, a lot more. He started to play his hand late last year when the idea of an increase in the gas tax was floated. Last week, at a Mass DOT dog and pony show, several other "investments" were explored. That performance was followed up by a State of the Commonwealth address where he laid out a proposal to cut the sales tax and increase the income tax. That plan sounded like a break-even, but it still pulled nearly 2 billion more dollars from taxpayers.
    Bottom line, you're being set up for the one two punch. In boxing, that's a combination of two blows delivered in rapid succession. Typically, a left lead followed by a right cross. The left loosens you up for the decisive blow. The Governor will deliver the first punch. He will present a multifaceted plan to increase taxes and spending. While you're reeling from that hit, Beacon Hill lawmakers will offer a pared down version that will appear more reasonable. That's the right cross.
    The only difference between boxing and the budget is the time between hits. The fighter on the receiving end of the punches does not look forward to the second blow. Unfortunately, taxpayers do. They've done it to us before. After the first strike, we are peppered with doomsday scenarios of children starving, elders being thrown out on the street, and criminals running wild. Beacon Hill threatens to cut local aid and that fires up local governments. They become the public relations arm of a drive to raise taxes. This hysteria makes some give up and accept what appears to be a more moderate tax increase. At that point, we've taken the blow, fall to the mat, and stay down for the count.
    I am not the first commentator to explain this tried and true trick, but it always bears repeating.

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