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Alicea 'proud' of last four years


Incumbent ready for primary face-off with Powell



0407Alicea
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Geraldo Alicea. (click for larger version)
April 06, 2011
To incumbent 6th Worcester Democrat Geraldo Alicea, the current fiscal situation is a time for people, especially in government, "to make tough choices."

That, in a nutshell, is how he defends some of the votes, particularly supporting alcohol and sales taxes, for which he has been criticized in recent months.

"You can't have it both ways. You can't have local aid without some kind of revenue," he observed. "... No one wants to increase taxes, and once our economy starts turning around, we're willing to look at bringing it back down."

He's referring mostly to the sales tax hike, which he argues has returned about $2 million to 6th Worcester towns in various ways that "help keep the lights on." Although state reports claim the economy is improving — Alicea said revenues are "$800 million above benchmark" — there's still a good climb to go — he argues "they're $1.5 billion shy of what we need." The House and Senate have loosely agreed that latter figure is somewhere around $20.5 billion, he said, with fiscal 2012 being "the worst budget we'll be facing."

"Massachusetts was the last to get into the recession and is the third or fourth to get out of it," he said, noting the economy is a "national crisis." It will, however, still take time to get back to the heights of 2007, but he said he's "proud" of his efforts to promote turn-around while keeping "bare bones services that are a necessity" going.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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