House state budget, $1B less than gov

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. 

“I think it’s a responsible budget, but it’s going to be disappointing to a lot of groups who saw the governor’s budget with a large tax increase and then a large spending increase as well,” said Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation president Michael Widmer.

The House budget rejects the $2 billion dollar tax plan pitched by Patrick.

“The proposal that we’re releasing today is well-balanced, fiscally prudent and touches on a number of priorities that are very, very important to the Commonwealth,” 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.

 “For a period of three years an increase in funds will be invested in by the Commonwealth and with that we will freeze fees,” 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 governor’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 it’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.

Copyright 2014 WWLP TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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