A budget is a statement of priorities; it describes what we want to do together as a Commonwealth in the coming year—and how we will pay for those things.
The top priorities in the Governor’s budget for this coming year are Education and Transportation. Both those areas will receive significant new funding, and there will also be additional funding for Health Care, Public Health, and Local Aid.
To pay for these, the Governor has proposed some significant changes to the tax system, including raising the income tax from 5.25 to 6.25 and lowering the sales tax from 6.25 percent to 4.5 percent. These changes—along with the others described in our “Revenue” section below—would raise about $850 million of additional tax revenue for 2014 while also making our tax system less regressive and more fair.
Ultimately, this money would be invested in a variety of areas across the budget. Some of the most prominent include:
- Early Education & Care, where funding increases will help young children gain access to high-quality child care, which is essential to working parents and which has been shown to increase the long-term prospects of children.
- Higher Education, which would make college more affordable by increasing public support for UMass, Community Colleges, and State Universities and by doubling the size of the State Scholarship Program
- Transportation systems in Greater Boston and across the state, to help repair our roads and bridges and improve our bus, subway, and train service.
Even with this new revenue, however, there are areas where the Governor’s proposals may fail to meet important needs. In Housing, for instance, the Governor would continue to restrict low-income homeless families’ access to state-supported shelters, instead providing limited assistance to help these families secure permanent housing. There is a question whether that assistance is sufficient to ensure that families can stay in housing over the long term.
MassBudget’s new Budget Monitor shows how the Governor’s budget would affect core programs in state government, from health care and education to public safety and the environment–including information on tax revenues.