Mass. House Panel Unveils Proposed $32B Budget

A key Massachusetts House panel has proposed a nearly $32.3 billion state budget that calls for no new taxes and boosts state aid to cities and towns.

The spending plan unveiled by the Ways and Means Committee for the fiscal year starting July 1 is $14 million lower than the budget proposed in January by Gov. Deval Patrick. It also calls for a $400 million withdrawal from the state's Rainy Day fund.

Committee Chair Brian Dempsey, D-Haverhill, says the House budget fully funds unrestricted local aid and increases state aid to education. It contains no new taxes.

"We have reconfirmed our commitment to responsible budgeting by keeping the operating budget within our current means," Dempsey said, "and to not shift the burden of balancing the budget on the shoulders of Massachusetts taxpayers."

Patrick's budget proposal called for $260 million in new revenue, including a hike in the tobacco tax and sales taxes on candy and soda.

The House budget calls for "increased coordination" between the state's 15 community colleges, but stops short of Patrick's plan to centralize administration of the schools.

The House budget also rejects Patrick's call for closing a state prison in Norfolk, but accepts the administration's plan to shut down Taunton State Hospital.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This article was originally published on April 11, 2012.

This program aired on April 11, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.


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