, Salem, MA


March 2, 2013

Column: Jobs and the economy still a priority


Across party lines, 96 percent of Democratic, 90 percent of Republican and 93 percent of unenrolled voters agreed that improving the economy and jobs should be a high priority. The highest percentage as an age group to believe this were those polled between the ages of 18 to 29. This age group is the next generation of Massachusetts leaders, entrepreneurs, employees and employers, and they will be asked to pay for the governor’s 10-year spending plan.

When asked about improving our public transportation network such as buses, trains and subways, only 42 percent believe this should be a high priority. Nearly 50 percent of Democrat, 31 percent of Republican and 38 percent of unenrolled voters believe public transportation improvements deserve to be a high priority. The only majority age group to believe this issue should be a high priority were those over the age of 60. I am not suggesting we toss granny under our aging buses but is it wise to ask future generations to pay for a massive taxpayer funded project if they don’t think it should be a high priority?

Despite the fact that more than nine out of every 10 voters believe jobs and the economy should be a high priority, the governor’s proposed income tax hike will have devastating consequences for small businesses, the engine of our economy.

According to Bill Vernon of the National Federation of Independent Business, “Most people don’t realize that the income tax is a small-business tax. In fact, more than two thirds of small businesses pay their taxes as individual filers. And more than 90 percent of the employers in Massachusetts are organized as pass-through companies, usually sole proprietorships, partnerships and Subchapter S corporations. In other words, they’re small businesses that pay income taxes.”

Our elected officials should not be punished for leading on issues but as voters we have to steer them in the right direction. Despite the rhetoric, the number one issue on the minds of voters is the outlook of our economy and the growth of good-paying jobs. Young and old, Democratic and Republican, this issue unites voters.

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