BOSTON -- With a new Suffolk poll out Wednesday showing him trailing badly and barely breaking even with Democratic voters, Jay Gonzalez may need to re-think his strategy of rolling out a tax that Massachusetts Democrats blasted less than a year ago when it was part of federal tax reform. Almost as soon as Gonzalez rolled out the new tax, it was panned as an "embarrassing dud," and a "conversation starter at best." Observers noted the awkwardness of the harsh criticism levied at the idea by the very Democrats Gonzalez just spent the last week "unifying" with, and the simple reality that it won't even make a dent in funding Gonzalez's costly agenda.
Boston Herald: Gonzalez's "Embarrassing Dud" Of A Plan "Capped A Disastrous Day" That Showed Him Trailing Badly
"Days after desperately trying to tie Gov. Charlie Baker to President Trump, Democratic candidate for governor Jay Gonzalez stole his first major new campaign idea from — you guessed it — Donald J. Trump.
"The problem is, the very Democrats who tried to rally behind the Democratic nominee in recent days...have panned the tax endowment plan.
"The unveiling of Gonzalez’s tax idea capped a disastrous day for the Dems as a new Suffolk University poll showed Baker clubbing Gonzalez by a huge margin, while three-quarters of voters -including Democrats - approved of Baker’s job performance.
"Gonzalez also put the state’s Democratic congressional delegation in an embarrassing position, because they came out strongly against the plan to tax university endowments when Trump proposed it." (Read More)
The Boston Globe Editorial Board: Gonzalez's Plan Merely "A Conversation Starter," Won't Fund His Agenda
"All that said, the Gonzalez plan, which is similar to a provision in President Trump’s tax bill, is a conversation starter at best. It doesn’t cover the full cost of Gonzalez’s spending plans, and it’s too narrowly focused on a single institution.
"'A tax on endowments will result in the availability of fewer dollars for scholarships, student services, research, and operating expenses,' wrote Senator Edward Markey, back when it was President Trump pushing an endowment tax. Those fears are still valid." (Read More)
WBUR's Keane: Gonzalez "Fits Right Into The Caricature Of A Free Spending Democrat"
"So as a dutiful Democrat, do I now need to support Gonzalez’ plan?
"No, no, no! Bad ideas are bad ideas, no matter which side of the aisle they hail from.
"Give Gonzalez credit for fitting right into the caricature of a free-spending Democrat. All this new money would go for lots of transportation and education goodies. But give Gonzalez demerits for not being willing to ask ordinary citizens to fund all these goodies. Instead, he looks around some convenient target.
"You can just imagine Gonzalez and his policy guys sitting around, mulling how to get the money they so desperately want to spend. It’s like the scene in 'Lord of the Rings' when some famished orcs contemplate the hobbits as food: 'What about their legs? They don't need those. Ooh! They look tasty!'" (Read More)
Globe Notes Gonzalez's Strange Ploy Pushing Tax His Party Once Ripped
"When Republicans proposed hitting college endowments with a new tax last year, the response from Massachusetts Democrats was at once swift and fierce.
"US Senator Elizabeth Warren panned the plan as 'completely backwards,' saying endowments are designed to fund things like tuition aid and research.
"US Representative Michael Capuano warned it could trickle down to the construction industry, whose companies build the state-of-art labs and academic centers those endowments fund.
"Citing rising higher education costs, US Senator Edward Markey wrote in a letter last year that elected lawmakers 'should not be taking from nonprofit education institutions.'
"Now Jay Gonzalez, their party’s choice for governor, is proposing to do just that, releasing on Wednesday a plan that would collectively tax Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the state’s other richest schools a billion dollars annually." (Read More)
Higher Ed Leaders Rip "Terrible Idea" That Would Hurt Low-Income Students
"Harvard's new president, Larry Bacow, told WGBH News taxing college endowments, as a matter of public policy, is a 'terrible idea.'
"'If we want to make college more affordable, taxing the resources that support financial aid makes no sense whatsoever' Bacow said last week, stating in general terms his reaction to the new federal tax." (Read More)
State House News Service: "Under Pressure," Gonzalez Turns To Idea Warren Panned
"Democrat for governor Jay Gonzalez said his plan to tax the endowments of wealthy private universities should not inhibit schools like Harvard University from funding research and financial aid, two reasons Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren opposed the idea when President Trump offered it.
"Gonzalez, who has been under pressure to detail how he would raise revenue to pay for his campaign promises, pitched a plan Tuesday to generate nearly $1 billion in state revenue by taxing the endowments of the state's nine wealthiest colleges and universities." (Read More)