BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick is looking for ways to keep paying for the state’s substance abuse treatment programs after voters decided to repeal the sales tax on alcohol, which has supported the initiatives.
“These are enormously important programs, as you know,” Patrick told WBZ News Radio’s Lana Jones. “And the sad fact is that substance abuse tends to go up in a recession, so the need for the programs is even greater in these times, so I’m committing to finding a solution, I just don’t have a solution yet.”
Patrick all but rejected one idea floated by substance abuse advocates, who have suggested delaying the start of the sales tax cut from January until the beginning of the new fiscal year on July 1.
Patrick told reporters that Beacon Hill leaders want to respect the will of voters.
Patrick refused to reject a second idea to increase the alcohol excise tax, which hasn’t been changed in decades. Patrick said the idea isn’t being actively discussed, however.
The excise tax on a gallon of beer in Massachusetts is 11 cents compared 30 cents in New Hampshire.
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