A group of 87 local business leaders have come out in support of Governor Deval Patrick’s early education plan, and the taxes tied to it —which they say are necessary investments to ensure a well-educated workforce.
The announcement, made in a public letter on Tuesday, came as the governor prepared to meet with business leaders and economists on Wednesday to discuss the state’s economy and his fiscal year 2014 budget. Earlier this month, a group of 57 economists also wrote a letter supporting Patrick’s budget, which would fund new transportation and education programs partly by raising the income tax and rewriting portions of the corporate tax code.
“Nobody loves taxes, but we feel that this is less of a tax and more of an investment,” said Paul O’Brien, the former chief executive officer of the New England Telephone company and a signatory on the letter. “New revenue is going to be needed if we want to improve our early education.”
Patrick’s proposed budget would raise the income tax to 6.25 percent from 5.25 percent while lowering the sales tax from 6.25 percent to 4.5 percent. Part of the increased revenue from those changes would fund a $131 million infusion into early education programs in fiscal year 2014 and $350 million over four years.