BOSTON (WWLP) — A House panel has released a $33.8 billion dollar 2014 state budget proposal that spends about one billion dollars less than what Governor Deval Patrick proposed.
â€śI think itâ€™s a responsible budget, but itâ€™s going to be disappointing to a lot of groups who saw the governorâ€™s budget with a large tax increase and then a large spending increase as well,â€ť said Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation president Michael Widmer.
The House budget rejects the $2 billion dollar tax plan pitched by Patrick.
â€śThe proposal that weâ€™re releasing today is well-balanced, fiscally prudent and touches on a number of priorities that are very, very important to the Commonwealth,â€ť said House Ways & Means Chairman Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill).
Students will get a break from paying higher tuition and fees at UMass and state universities thanks to about $54 millions dollars in new funding.
â€śFor a period of three years an increase in funds will be invested in by the Commonwealth and with that we will freeze fees,â€ť said Westfield State University president Evan Dobelle.
The House budget also commits about $110 million dollars to public education, which is still more than $100 million dollars less than what the governor proposed. It also leaves out the governorâ€™s $130 million dollar investment in early education.
Cities and towns will get a roughly $20 million dollar increase in funding, the first increase in four years, but itâ€™s still about $10 million dollars less than what the governor offered.
House lawmakers also tackled welfare fraud by requiring photo identification on EBT cards and tightening eligibility rules.
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