Showdown at the Beacon Hill Corral
The House will unveil its version of the fiscal 2006 state budget this week and all signs point to them making it balance through cuts. Speaker Sal DiMasi has said "no" to Gov. Deval Patrick's proposals for closing corporate tax loopholes and a package of local option taxes. DiMasi and the House are also on record against casino gambling proposals, while Patrick has not yet made up his mind.
Once again, the public may be ahead of its leaders (and know-it-alls like me).
The second piece of the Globe poll finds more of an openness to the proposals among the public than legislators (of course we're not talking about raising the sales or income taxes).
The numbers aren't overwhelming -- 56 percent approve of the corporate tax loophole closing, 53 percent say OK to things like local option hotel-motel taxes. These levies also represent the classic "don't tax me, don't tax thee, tax the man behind the tree" philosophy that governs the United States.
Massachusetts residents appear to favor Governor Deval Patrick's proposals for raising revenues to bridge the state budget gap and ease the property tax burden, with a small majority expressing support for closing what he described as corporate tax loopholes, and for giving communities the right to impose a local tax on meals and hotels, according to a new Globe poll.
The survey also found significant and growing interest in expanded gambling as a source for state revenue, an option Patrick is currently studying. Two-thirds of residents, 67 percent, said they would support putting slot machines at racetracks in the state , compared with 54 percent four years ago. Support for a casino has grown to 61 percent.
Nevertheless, it's mildly surprising to see a majority of Massachusetts residents -- attuned to 16 years of the GOP free lunch -- to support any tax increases.
And it will be interesting to see what these numbers look like in a few weeks after the House budget -- and its cuts -- have been around long enough to digest.