Diminshed Revenues for 2013 Budget

posted Feb 21, 2012, 1:24 PM by Frank Baskin   [ updated Feb 21, 2012, 1:26 PM ]

STATE BUDGET WRITERS RAISE RED FLAGS, PREDICT “SERIOUS” SPENDING CUTS: Legislative leaders opened annual budget hearings Friday morning by expressing concern that tax collections this year..FOR MORE CLICK TITLE.... are running behind projections and cautioning about the affordability of a wave of new expenses and their lack of knowledge about the future of federal aid from Washington. Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Stephen Brewer said he was “very concerned” that tax collections seven months into the fiscal year are running $94 million behind benchmarks. His counterpart, Rep. Brian Dempsey, noted $130 million in tax relief this year will take revenues off the table for spending, referenced $150 million in expected new immigrant health care costs, and mentioned $11 million in new student transportation costs. Dempsey called aid levels from Washington and “unknown factor” with potential for destabilization in a revenue base that accounts for 30 percent of state revenues. “We certainly have many, many challenges going forward,” Dempsey said. While the overall state budget has grown in recent years, many programs and services within it have been cut and more cuts are expected in fiscal 2013. “Now we are really at a point where every one will be painful and serious,” said Brewer. Patrick budget chief Jay Gonzalez said the Massachusetts economy was growing “faster and stronger than the rest of the country,” fueling an anticipated $940 million increase in fiscal 2013 tax collections. But Gonzalez said the new revenues are building on a “devastated” tax base and total tax collections are still trying to rebound to pre-recession levels. He made a pitch for $260 million in proposed new taxes and fees, calling the administration's revenue package, which includes an expansion of the bottle bill and new taxes on cigarettes, candy and soda, "popular" among the public. Gonzalez said the administration was two to three weeks away from reaching conclusions about its fiscal 2012 revenue analysis. Description: http://www.statehousenews.com/Video/play.jpg