WMass lawmakers discuss tax increases

BOSTON (WWLP) — No major bills have been passed in the first few months of the new legislative session as state lawmakers focus on Governor Deval Patrick’s proposal to increase taxes and raise more than $2 billion dollars annually for transportation and education investments.

“There’s a little bit more of an appetite this session to look at revenue enhancements, to look at potential tax increases or closing loopholes,” said Sen. James Welch (D-West Springfield).  “Whether or not it will be the exact package that the governor proposed, I don’t think it will be exactly that.”

Western Massachusetts lawmakers are supportive of the governor’s goals, but are cautious of his revenue raising proposals that include increasing the state income tax to 6.25 percent and decreasing the state sales tax to 4.5 percent.  They’re seeking affordable tax reforms that keep the state competitive with the rest of New England.

“There are other ways to generate a little more revenue, maybe a package of much smaller, less ambitious incentives or ways to raise some money to help fund some of these unmet needs,” said Sen. Gale Candaras (D-Wilbraham).

Legislative leaders held a meeting with the governor Monday afternoon.  Despite being flanked by their budget chiefs, Senate President Therese Murray said they did not discuss how they were going to raise revenues. House Speaker Robert DeLeo says state lawmakers are looking for a “magic number” for revenues needed to update the state’s education and transportation system.



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