Senate Releases $34 Billion Budget Proposal

The Massachusetts State House.

The Massachusetts State Senate Ways & Means Committee released a budget proposal Wednesday just shy of $ 34 billion for fiscal year 2014 that falls short of several of Gov. Deval Patrick’s budget recommendations.

According to the Boston Globe, the Senate $ 33.92 billion budget would increase spending by 4.4 percent as opposed to Patrick’s budget that hikes spending by 6.9 percent.

The Senate budget is roughly in line in terms of spending with the proposed $ 33.8 billion House budget proposed last month.

The Globe reported that the Senate budget increases spending for elderly services and special education but does not reach Patrick’s recommendations for expanding transportation and providing universal childcare access.

Committee Chairman Sen. Stephen M. Brewer (D-Barre) told the Globe their differences with Patrick’s budget are “not in the direction, but in the extent.”

In a statement Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) said the proposal clearly “rejects once again the massive tax and spend measures” from Patrick.

Tarr was still critical of the proposal, saying it “relies on a combination of over $ 627 million from one-time revenue sources and $ 450 million in tax increases, and that’s on top of the millions of dollars in additional tax increases that have been approved in recent years, including a $ 900 million increase in the sales tax implemented in 2009.”

Patrick and the Legislature have until July 1, when the new fiscal year begins, to hammer out their differences and approve a budget. 

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