Raising spending

Gov. Deval Patrick has called for an ambitious financial plan when it comes to transportation and education.

We think both deserve serious consideration.

It is always easy to say it’s not the right time to raise taxes, but somebody needs to show when in the past 10, 20 or more years that there’s been some kind of universal agreement when it comes to raising taxes.

It just doesn’t happen.

Instead it has taken strong leadership to not just call for additional money but also provide the kind of argument for their case that convinces a skeptical public why this is the time to make such an investment.

As Secretary of Education Matthew Malone said last week during a hearing at Greenfield Community College, “While incremental funding increases are always welcome and appreciated … it will never be enough to get the job done in education.”

That is especially true when you consider that the money put toward education by the state hasn’t been a constant trajectory upwards. Rather, education has had to deal with a number of funding reductions that have not been erased by subsequent increases.

Take, for example, the money that Greenfield Community College has received from the state. In Fiscal Year 2008, GCC received a bit more than $9.1 million toward its operation. Since then, GCC has seen the state money fall below that mark, with Fiscal Year 2013 looking at $7.8 million.

Under the governor’s proposal, based upon a new formula for distributing state money to the 15 community colleges in Massachusetts, GCC would be looking at $1 million more as part of the $20 million more aimed at community colleges as part of what the governor wants to see for higher education.

The $20 million, which is part of the additional $152 million that Patrick wants for higher education, is part of a $550 million increase for public education from those just entering the public education system to those earning a college degree.

But the only way to do this is to raise taxes, the very idea that leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of many legislators and Massachusetts residents.

Putting off such an investment, however, is counter-productive. Delaying this kind of investment will only delay what education strives to do: prepare people to meet both the challenges that now exist as well as the ones that the lie ahead.

Gov. Patrick realizes that now is the time to make such investments ... waiting for people to say “OK, raise my taxes” just isn’t going to happen.

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