BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Lawmakers are beginning their examination of Gov. Deval Patrick’s $34.8 billion state budget proposal, which includes nearly $2 billion in new revenues to boost transportation and education.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Lana Jones reports
Secretary of State Bill Galvin told lawmakers Thursday he generates millions of dollars in revenue under a modest budget.
State officials say it is expected to cost Massachusetts at least $13.5 million to hold the special election to fill the U.S. Senate formerly held by Secretary of State John Kerry.
State Auditor Suzanne Bump has estimated that it will cost cities and towns nearly $8.3 million to run the April 30 primary election and the June 25 final. The special election has been classified by the auditor’s office as an “unfunded local mandate,” meaning the state must reimburse local communities for the costs they incur.
The state picked up the entire tab during the last special election in 2010, but this year Galvin wants local communities to share the expense.
“If a clerk has to work to provide absentee balloting to their communities as part of their duties, that’s what they should be doing,” Galvin said. “When they have to hire additional personnel, when they have to have police officers involved and rent a space, that’s different.”
The House and Senate Ways and Means Committees held the first public hearing on the spending plan on Thursday, with administration officials among those called to testify.
Patrick has proposed hiking the state income tax from 5.25 percent to 6.25 percent, while at the same time lowering the sales tax from 6.25 to 4.5 percent. He’s also called for higher taxes on cigarettes, candy and soda.
The governor says he’s open to alternative revenue proposals — but only if they provide enough money to modernize the state’s transportation network and enhance public education.
The budget also calls for a $400 million withdrawal from the states ‘rainy day fund.”