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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

House bets on the future

The Massachusetts House's $26.9 billion budget belies Speaker Sal DiMasi's insistence that lawmakers would not consider gambling as part of their deliberations. That's because this spending plan is one huge roll of the dice.

Lawmakers, who have rejected any form of new revenue, added $175 million in new spending to the bottom line offered by Ways and Means. That brings to $675 million the amount that House lawmakers plan to draw from one-time revenues and the state's rainy day account.

Maybe they're looking at a report that says the Massachusetts economy is finally growing, even faster than the national one. Maybe they think 'don't tax these growing businesses and their sales will generate new revenues in the form of personal income and sales taxes.'

Maybe they think businesses will stop taking advantage of the opportunities they have to shelter income that average citizens don't have.

No, casino gambling wasn't on the agenda as the House considered spending proposals to a mariachi accompaniment. But lawmakers were betting our future nonetheless.

I've got no complaints with the spending they put back in during the week. I just wish they weren't falling to same siren calls that attract people to subprime mortgages. Let's hope the Senate has a better idea.

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Blogger MassParent said...

I think Patrick has to tie his plan to actually cutting back property taxes to sell voters on its merits.

One way to do that is to actually roll back Prop 2.5 ceilings for the portion of revenues where the state replaces local dollars with state dollars. Meaning, local taxpayers would actually see a lower tax bill the year after this reform, unless they go out and vote for an override.

As for the legislature's gambit on the $175 million of spending; revenues have come in above the top of the target range in the two months since the gloomy forecast was made, and it is likely at least one more good report will come in for April. Thus, the legislature is just fulfilling its traditional role of sweetening the offer based on numbers beating a conservative early estimate.

Whether those numbers hold up through next year is still a big gamble.

May 03, 2007 12:57 PM  

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