Governor Deval Patrick announced his proposed $34.8 billion state budget earlier this year. Here’s a look at how the plan will affect consumers, students, and industries across the state. Next
Transportation and education
Governor Deval Patrick’s tax plan would raise taxes by nearly $2 billion dollars to pay for improvements in education and transportation. Next
Gov. Patrick has rejected proposals to raise the gas tax instead as insufficient and unfair. The current gasoline tax is 21 cents per gallon. Next
Patrick has said his proposal will turn out the workers needed to fill the jobs in the state’s increasingly high tech economy, pointing out that about 30,000 children are currently on waiting lists for early education programs in Massachusetts. Patrick also said the state must also lower the financial barriers to higher education.
‘‘Brainpower is our signature economic edge, and failing to invest in that in Massachusetts would be like Texas failing to support the oil industry or Iowa their corn farmers,’’ Patrick told lawmakers. ‘‘If we want growth, we need investment. That new investment will require new revenue.’’
Sales and income tax
The governor’s tax proposal would hike the state income tax from 5.25 percent to 6.25 percent, while lowering the sales tax from 6.25 to 4.5 percent. Next
According to Patrick, under his plan, families earning less than $62,000 a year would pay essentially the same or less in taxes. Next
MBTA officials have warned that the public transit system is facing a projected $140 million deficit in the fiscal year starting July 1. Without additional funding, they said, riders in the Boston area could face fare increases of up to 33 percent, or dramatic reductions in service.
Under one scenario, bus fares would rise from $1.50 to $2, and subway fares from $2 to $2.60.
Support from economists
According to The Boston Globe, a group of more than 50 economists voiced their support for Governor Deval Patrick’s plan to increase Massachusetts’s income tax, saying that chronic underfunding of the state’s education and transportation systems has threatened future prosperity. Next
Higher ed consequences
University of Massachusetts President Robert L. Caret has asserted that tuition and fees could be frozen for students in the UMass system if Governor Deval Patrick’s tax plan is approved by lawmakers and signed into law.
In a letter sent to the chair of the UMass board of trustees, Caret said his office studied the impact of Patrick’s proposal and concluded that it would generate enough funding for the university to once again provide 50 percent of the funding of its academic programs.
The state funding had slipped in recent years to about 43 percent, with students and their families paying the balance, Caret wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Globe.
The House and Senate have until the end of the state’s fiscal year on June 30 to send a budget to Patrick for his signature. Back to the beginning
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