Peterson, Moore share bad news with Grafton selectmen

PetersonMooreState Rep. George Peterson and state Sen. Michael Moore emerged Tuesday night as critical of several of the tax increases upon which Gov. Deval Patrick’s fiscal year 2014 budget hinges.

“Looking at the governor’s numbers, everyone got sort of excited,” said Peterson, R-Grafton. “The governor’s numbers are worth only the paper they’re printed on, in my estimation.”

Patrick’s $34.8 billion proposed state budget would increase local aid and funding for transportation and education while also calling for new or higher taxes on candy, soda, cigarettes and gas.  Income tax would increase from  5.25 percent to 6.25 percent and the sales tax would fall from 6.25 percent to 4.5 percent. Several income tax deductions would be eliminated. The gas tax would be tied to inflation, and MBTA fares, Mass Pike tolls and Registry of Motor Vehicle fees would also increase.

The budget calls for a $1.4 million increase to Chapter 70 (education) fudnding for the town of Grafton, a total of $10,422,782. Grafton would also receive $1,322,498 in unrestricted local aid under Patrick’s plan.

Town Administrator Tim McInerney, as in past years, has based his $46.6 million FY2014 town budget on Patrick’s budget. Peterson said he was not confident the revenue sources for the governor’s budget would pass the House.

“The governor’s budget is based on so many what-ifs,” Moore said. “Until we see what the House does, I can’t tell you the direction the Senate is going to be going.”

Moore was critical of the governor’s plans to expand the MBTA, noting that the agency already has financial issues. Both legislators were not in favor of an increase in the gas tax and questioned why residents of Central Mass. and MetroWest must bear the brunt of tolls while other heavily traveled parts of the state are toll-free.

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One thought on “Peterson, Moore share bad news with Grafton selectmen

  1. The toll question is a fair one, but there is some cognitive dissonance in the suggestion that the MBTA isn’t ripe for expansion in the face of rising fuel costs and deteriorating highway infrastructure. Exurbs, like Shrewsbury, Grafton, Northbridge and Millbury, need to attract prospective homeowners who are priced out of metro-Boston to maintain our relatively modest property values, even where those people work in Boston but might like to live here. And we need to do that at a time when gas prices are increasing. Stands to reason, then, that there is some degree to which our fate is tied to that of public transportation. People who live here, but work in Boston, are going to need it.

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