BOSTON (WWLP) — Western Massachusetts business leaders are backing the state Legislatureâ€™s transportation funding legislation. Neither the House nor Senate plan raises the state income tax to 6.25 percent as Governor Deval Patrick had pitched. At the annual Beacon Hill Summit, members of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield were invited to the State House and many of them supported the state Legislatureâ€™s proposal for modest tax increases, like a three-cent gas tax hike.
â€śA pleasure to hear our legislators say that we donâ€™t want to raise taxes to an unacceptable level,â€ť said Carl Breyer, owner of Park Place Realty in Agawam.
According to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, the House plan dedicates about $680 million dollars in revenue to the stateâ€™s road and transit needs, while the Senate proposal commits about $800 million dollars. Patrick proposed to raise $1.9 billion dollars in taxes to update the stateâ€™s education and transportation system. Senate President Therese Murray says the House and Senate plans are a good compromise.
â€śThe Senate and the House each approved a transportation financing framework that closes the transportation operating gap over a five year period and puts in place benchmarks for revenues, savings, and reforms for the Department of Transportation and the MBTA,â€ť said Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth).
But Patrick administration officials noted the state Legislature doesnâ€™t raise significant revenue for education.
â€śThe governor felt very strongly that we need to raise money not merely to invest in transportation but also to make some new significant investments in education and we remain committed to both,â€ť said Administration & Finance Secretary Glen Shor.
A 6-member conference committee made up of House and Senate lawmakers is currently negotiating a final transportation funding bill to submit to the governor.
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