By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Barring unforeseen circumstances, it’s curtains on Beacon Hill for Gov. Deval Patrick’s $1.9 billion tax hike plan, discarded by the legislature in favor of a much more modest plan that is likely to survive the veto of our frustrated governor.

Who’s to blame?

That depends on who you talk to.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Top legislators see the governor as an aloof finger-wagger insulting them by claiming they lack the “courage” to do what’s best, also known as what he thinks is best.

The governor’s camp sees those legislators as personally hostile, mediocre pols overly fixated on their meager careers.

I don’t doubt that both sides have their reasons to feel that way. But if the governor is indeed on the brink of losing the argument, it’s because of some gaping holes in his case.

The governor insists Beacon Hill has done enough reforming to credibly ask for more revenue, but people tend to believe their eyes more than self-serving spin. And when they look around they see costly sweetheart deals with organized labor still in place, half-hearted efforts at cracking down on welfare fraud, and other assorted mismanagement horror shows.

The governor claims the middle-class can afford to pay more, that our tax burden isn’t all that high, but he rarely acknowledges the overall cost of living and the crush of rising property taxes at a time of slumping property values.

And he preaches that “we have to decide to make the kinds of sacrifices in our time that our grandparents did in theirs” without noting that they lived at a time of rising middle-class wages and opportunity, not in our current stagnant economy.

Maybe that’s why the governor’s tax-hike message hasn’t gotten over the hump.

Even after two electoral victories, it seems he doesn’t know his audience quite as well as he thinks he does.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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