MA Speaker DeLeo Says Lawmakers Have “Grave Concerns” About Gov. Patrick’s Budget

Members of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s administration continue efforts this week to pitch his proposed budget to constituents across the state. But the proposal may be headed for an uphill battle in the legislature.

Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo spoke to reporters outside a Democratic caucus at the State House on Tuesday, saying he’s heard from anxious constituents and lawmakers about the governor’s proposed budget.

“People have grave concerns about the proposal as a whole, but in fairness to the Governor, I told him I would keep an open mind, and I will keep an open mind.”

But despite those “grave concerns,” Patrick’s administration is pushing forward with a budget that proposes to bring in an extra $1.9 billion a year by raising income taxes by one percent, and lowering the sales tax by 1.75 percent. Much of Patrick’s proposed investments are in education and transportation. Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki argues the budget raises needed revenues for the coming year, while focusing on long-term investments.

“But more importantly, it puts us in a position where we can tell businesses, ‘if you decide to locate or grow in Massachusetts, you’re going to be in a state where we’re going to continue to invest in transportation and education over the next ten years.”

Bialecki says the Governor’s proposal would benefit western Massachusetts, particularly in transportation investments, including improvements in train service between Springfield and Boston.