Mass. Legislature to Scale Down Gov’s Budget
On Tuesday morning, leaders of the Mass. legislature responded to Governor Patrick’s plan to increase spending for education and transportation. They want to raise $500 million for transportation initiatives (a fraction of what the governor proposed) and leave education funding at its current level. Last month, Speaker Robert Deleo told reporters he would tackle education spending issues after the transportation budget was set, but there was no mention by the speaker of a coming effort.
Explaining their dramatically scaled-down proposals, the speaker and Senate President Therese Murray both cited a lack of public support for the revenue increases required to fund the governor’s ambitious plan. DeLeo and Murray call for a 3 cent hike in the state gas tax to generate $110 million this year, as well as a $1 increase in the tax on tobacco products, generating another projected $165 million. An expansion of the Computer Services Tax Code would bring in $161 million, and eliminating the Utilities tax would raise another $46 million.
The governor is expected to respond to the proposal in a press conference at 1 p.m. on Thursday, and the Ways and Means committee is expected to release its budget proposal on April 10.