This is one of the more interesting local races. George Thompson, the Westborough Republican, crossed party lines in the previous State Senate race to support Eldridge in his bid for State Senate. In a small Republican party, this does not win many friends or supporters for future electoral ambitions. On his website, he now claims that the issues that drew him to Mr. Eldridge’s campaign were not ultimately addressed during his tenure as State Senator. Many voters who supported the previous Republican opponent wish Mr. Thompson had listened to his party when they tried to educate him on that very point during the prior election.
However, voters do have a dilemma in this election. Jamie Eldridge, an Acton resident, openly states on his blog he is for raising taxes. His specific proposal that has already been defeated once calls for Progressive Income Tax Increases. The claim that it will only hurt those most able to pay always sounds convincing. However, as others deduced when they defeated this request, it rarely only attacks the wealthiest people. That is just the hook to draw people in to accepting the tax. From there the tax broadens and increases in percentage to burden all wage earners. Since Mr. Eldridge’s campaign website is open about his support for increased taxes, it is safe to believe that, if elected, he will represent the district by advocating further bills for increased taxes. This is an issue for voters to weigh carefully when choosing a State Senator for the coming years.
As a contrast, George Thompson lists a goal on his website of a “roll back of all of the state tax increases supported by Governor Patrick and the incumbent state senator, Mr. Eldridge.” He also supports returning the state income tax to 5%. Voters have no guarantees that candidates will deliver on their campaign promises. However, Mr. Eldridge has made a campaign pledge to work on a progressive income tax increase. Voters have some hope that Mr. Thompson is pledging to work for tax cuts. In a challenging economy, a focus on tax cuts and controlled spending should be priorities for the State Senate.
In regards to spending, Mr. Eldridge’s site states a reluctance to cut spending. His statement “there is nothing more regressive than a budget cut” from his website indicates that voters returning Eldridge to the Massachusetts Senate should not expect someone focused on balancing the budget by reducing state spending.
George Thompson in turn states on his website, “Every state agency, program, employee benefit program and employee must be evaluated for increased efficiency, reform or reduction. I support a state employee hiring freeze of all non critical positions.” If voters are hoping for government reform and control of spending, one candidate clearly states he is opposed to budget cuts, while the other is at least willing to discuss them in his campaign.
With the economic challenges facing Massachusetts, voters face some interesting choices. George Thompson provides no guarantees that he can or will deliver on promises made to voters. However, Eldridge has a proven record of pushing for higher taxes and resisting budget reform. The election will demonstrate which direction voters are moving in.
“The Tax No One Wants to Talk About ” Jamie Eldridge
“Issues” George Thompson