Newton’s outgoing Mayor Setti Warren announced his bid for Mass. Governor on Saturday, emphasizing single-payer health care, reducing income inequality, and free tuition for public colleges and universities.

“Is it acceptable that people can’t afford to … attain basic skills at the higher-ed level?” Warren said in an interview with Boston Public Radio Monday. “Is it acceptable that students have crushing debt and they can’t make ends meet in this economy?”

Back in 2007, former Gov. Deval Patrick proposed universal free tuition for all Massachusetts residents that would extend two years beyond high school, either through vocational training or college. In 2015, President Barack Obama unveiled the America’s College Promise plan that would make two years of community college free on a national scale.

Both plans were largely seen as failures, an option Warren says the country can no longer afford.

“We’ve got a crisis here,” Warren said. “Does anyone in the state of Massachusetts … think that graduating with a high school degree allows someone to make ends meet in this economy? It’s fantasy.”

Warren suggested a conversation on how to raise more revenue and finance the effort. Warren supports the "Millionaire’s Tax" — a proposal that would increase taxes for those with an income of $1 million or more — and other revenue-raising initiatives like a soda tax, which would cover the cost of tuition-free college.

“Let’s not be afraid to say we need more revenue,” Warren said. “We’ve got to raise revenue if we’re going to do what we’re doing now as well as do things like free public college.”

“I believe it’s necessary and I realize it’s a challenge,” Warren continued. “The first question is, what’s the cost of not doing it?”

Setti Warren is the outgoing Mayor of Newton and a candidate for Governor of Massachusetts. To hear his full interview with Boston Public Radio, click on the audio player above.