BOSTON (CBS) — Budget problems, ever-growing demands on the spending side, and concerns about what might happen to Massachusetts’ Medicaid funding all amount to one thing–mounting pressure for tax hikes.
The president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, Eileen McAnneny, sat down with WBZ political analyst Jon Keller this week to make sense of everything happening on Beacon Hill.
Jon asked McAnneny if the latest budget the state legislature passed was a responsible one.
“I will say it was responsible in several senses,” she said. “They didn’t take any money out of the rainy day fund, and that’s critically important because we’re still in a period of economic recovery … The second thing is, this time around, they actually did make some cuts to spending, so they’re not relying just on sweeping trust fund accounts or some other things–they’re actually taking some costs out of the budget that was originally introduced.”
Jon mentioned how the impasse in the legislature on the recreational marijuana bill was largely due to the tax rate differences between the House and Senate bills–the House wants a 28 percent tax on pot, while the Senate wants the rate to remain at 12 percent, as was in the original law.
McAnneny said her organization was originally opposed to the ballot initiative that wound up legalizing marijuana in Massachusetts.
“Our organization was opposed to the ballot initiative, and the reason is, we thought that there would be a lot of cost to the state while they are able to build the regulatory apparatus they need for the industry, and the ballot initiative didn’t provide for any of those costs,” she said. “In do think having the higher tax revenue might be helpful in that sense to make sure we cover the costs, but at the end of the day, even with the higher rate, it’s not going to be what saves our budget woes. It’s not going to raise enough revenue.”
Keller and McAnneny also discussed the origins of the Commonwealth’s budget woes–and why they have been worse here than in other states.
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.