Dukakis Debates Taxation, Occupy Movement

Roosevelt Institute and others listen in on discussion.


The Roosevelt Institute at welcomed former Governor Michael Dukakis Monday night to join a panel discussion with Professor Jay Goodman and Steve Poftak of the Pioneer Institute.

They debated the merits of various forms of taxation, the emerging role of the Occupy movement in the national debate, and their views on what role taxation will play in the discourse of the 2012 national elections.

“I thought the panel was a terrific balance; Governor Dukakis, who was able to provide insight from the statewide as well as national level, Steve Poftak, who has deep experience in state policy through the Pioneer Institute, and Professor Goodman, who was really able to give a broad historical and political context to the conversation,” said Adin Lenchner, Roosevelt Institute president. “Each panelist provided a unique look at the debate and provided a informed, passionate, and eloquent case for reexamining taxation policy.”

Dukakis was Governor of Massachusetts 1975 to 1979, and again 1983 to 1991. He was the democratic nominee for President of the United States in 1988. For the past 20 years he has been a professor of political science at Northeastern University. In 1989, Dukakis signed off on what was supposed to be a temporary 15 percent state income tax hike what was meant to pay off debt and address a budget deficit.

Steve Poftak represents the Pioneer Institute, a conservative think tank based in Massachusetts, and has experience in public policy debates on Beacon Hill including tax policy debate. He recently wrote an opinion piece in the Boston Globe about a gas tax and a blog entry on Boston Magazine about Occupy Boston. Professor Jay Goodman of Wheaton College, who received a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School and a Ph.D. from Brown University, specializes in American politics.

“It was such an honor to be able to host Governor Dukakis and Steve Poftak -- each really provided the discussion with the breadth of their experience and insight,” Lenchner said. “Roosevelt at Wheaton really strives to be able to provide students with a forum to discuss these kinds of issues -- to have conversations about these ideas that are everyone's minds and to provide them with the opportunity to hear from those who have real experience in the area.”

Approximately 70 people attended the event, held in the May Room of Mary Lyon Hall.

“The fact is that taxes affect young people as much as anyone else, and with the debate of tax policy once again at the fore of the national political debate and the rise of the Tea Party and the Occupy movement, this conversation was as important as ever,” Lenchner said. “I thought the discussion and ensuing debate surrounding the payroll tax and infrastructure were fascinating.”

The Roosevelt Institute Campus Network’s goal is to develop the next generation of progressive leaders by promoting and implementing their ideas for change. It has 10,000 students and young professionals in its 80+ chapters across the country. The Campus Network is part of the Roosevelt Institute, a non-profit organization devoted to carrying forward the values of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

For more information visit us at www.rooseveltcampusnetwork.org.


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