Jan 23 Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick
proposed on Wednesday a $34.8 billion state spending plan for
fiscal 2014 that would hike income taxes by 1 percentage point
to raise revenue for new education investments.
Patrick's plan would raise the income tax rate to 6.25
percent from 5.25 percent, double the personal exemption and
strip the commonwealth's tax system of several itemized
The plan, which state lawmakers will be asked to approve,
would also lower the sales tax rate to 4.5 percent from 6.25
percent, and would dedicate sales tax revenue to transportation
projects that Patrick said were critical for the state's future.
He also repeated a call to tax soda and candy sales, which
are currently exempt, and said the cigarette tax should rise by
$1 to $3.51 per pack.
"I do not submit this proposal lightly," he said of his plan
to hike income taxes. By focusing on education and
transportation, Massachusetts will be able to grow its economy,
The governor's total spending plan did not include a $1.6
billion pension contribution, an increase of about $78 million
from fiscal 2013.
The commonwealth will also have to spend $62 million more on
debt service payments next year, for a total of $2.4 billion.
Massachusetts, called "Taxachusetts" by some citizens who
complain about high taxes, had been facing a projected budget
gap of at least $1.28 billion in fiscal 2014, according to the
Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.
In a call with reporters, Massachusetts Finance Secretary
Glen Shor said the budget was balanced.