“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.