By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Tuesday is the deadline for paying your taxes, but these days, it’s hard to feel good about how the government spends our money.

Gov. Deval Patrick was in the WBZ NewsRadio 1030 studios on Tuesday talking about President Obama’s failed push for tax increases on some of the wealthiest Americans.

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Those increases are widely popular, but most tax hikes are not, and a steady flow of stories about tax dollars being wasted makes it unlikely that attitude will be changing anytime soon.

“The notion that we all have a stake in stabilizing our public fisc is not a radical idea, it’s a very basic American idea,” said Gov. Patrick on WBZ NewsWatch with Joe Mathieu on Tuesday.

The so-called Buffett rule, which would have called for tax hikes for the very wealthy, died in the Senate on Monday but had broad support in a CNN poll (.pdf).

But that CNN survey also showed only half of Americans think their federal tax burden is just right, and hardly any believe they should pay more. Why?

Look no further than Tuesday’s annual release of the “Pig Book” by a Washington group that documents government waste of tax dollars, a chronic source of public resistance to new taxes.

“We can point to the things we have done and continue to do, the numbers of reforms in the public pension system, in the transportation system,” said Gov. Patrick, when asked how he can prove tax dollars are being well spent.

Despite that, resistance in Massachusetts to tax hikes has been persistent and formidable, fueled by stories like the misuse of state electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards by some food stamp recipients.

“It doesn’t mean in the private sector when you see something like that, that people say, ‘We’re gonna shut down the company and do no more.’ The company has to continue to move forward, and the government has to continue to move forward as well, and that means serving everybody’s interests,” said Gov. Patrick.

But, it’s tougher for folks like Gov. Patrick or President Obama to win their argument for tax hikes when we see stories like the EBT scandal or the current uproar over the general services administration in D.C. squandering funds on junkets.

The only thing arguably less popular than government waste is unchecked tax breaks for millionaires.

Jon Keller


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