Massachusetts: Gov. Patrick’s new budget increases spending by 3%, but also cuts jobs and increases taxes

From the Boston Globe:

Governor Deval Patrick unveiled yesterday a $28.2 billion budget proposal for the next fiscal year that would increase taxes on tobacco, candy, and soft drinks, trim tax incentives for the film industry, and eliminate hundreds of state jobs.

The budget, which immediately became fodder in the governor’s race, represents a 3 percent increase over estimated spending for the current fiscal year, based on an expected 3.2 percent increase in revenues.

Still, because of what administration officials say are unavoidable increases in health care spending and other areas and given Patrick’s decision not to cut aid to municipalities and local school districts, the governor proposed a series of cuts to reach a balanced budget.

“Just like at kitchen tables and in back offices all across the state, we in state government have had to stare hard and long at our bottom line and figure out a way to do more with less,’’ Patrick told reporters at a State House press conference.

Patrick’s budget plan provides not just a blueprint for next year, but seeks to underscore a central theme of his reelection campaign: fiscal responsibility. The governor and his aides yesterday portrayed the plan as fiscally sound, touting their stewardship of the budget amid three years of economic volatility.

His rivals in the gubernatorial race immediately pounced, with state Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill, running as an independent, asserting that increasing spending was irresponsible, and Republican Charles D. Baker criticizing Patrick for relying on one-time revenues to help plug the gap.

Continue reading Tax hikes, job cuts in Patrick budget

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