NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 4, 2013

Governor skeptical of new tax plan

(Continued)

The governor also said he was looking forward to helping lawmakers during next year’s election defend any votes they might take to raise enough revenue to support his investment plan, dismissing suggestions that Republican Leah Cole’s victory in a special election in Peabody Tuesday was a referendum on his budget.

Harkening back to 2009, the last time the Legislature voted for a major tax hike raising the sales tax to 6.25 percent, Patrick said not only did he win re-election in 2010, but, “Not one of the people who voted for that sales tax increase lost their seat.”

In the 2010 election, House Republicans actually picked up 16 seats, defeating 12 incumbent Democrats, including nine who voted for the sales tax increase. Reps. William Bowles, Geraldo Alicea, Steven D’Amico, James Fagan, Mark Falzone, Danielle Gregoire, Barbara L’Italien, Allen McCarthy, and Matthew Patrick all supported the tax increase and lost.

L’Italien, an Andover Democrat and the highest ranking Democrat to lose that year after serving two-years as vice-chairwoman of the budget-writing House Ways and Means committee, said after the election, “The sales tax took on a heightened interest up my way. The whole Merrimack Valley, with the exception of Lawrence, they all voted for Charlie Baker. There was also a portion of folks who just wanted something new.”

Administration and Finance Secretary Glen Shor, in a memo obtained by the News Service to Cabinet financial officers, said the House-Senate leadership plan would require cutting $783 million from the governor’s budget proposal, leaving no money to support early education expansion, extended learning time in poorer school districts, or funding for college scholarships grants and to the University of Massachusetts to avoid tuition and fee hikes.

Shor also suggested the Legislature might have to eliminate additional funding for safety net hospitals, a restoration of adult dental coverage for MassHealth patients, a $2.8 million expansion of the State Police drug lab and funding for summer youth jobs, recycling, pools and parks and clothing allowances for low-income families.

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