FY14 Budget Conference Committee

July 1, 2013                                                 

Boston – Senator Richard J. Ross (R-Wrentham) rejected the Conference Committee’s $34 billion state budget for the Fiscal Year 2014 today. The budget relies upon several tax hikes, including increases in the taxes on gasoline and cigarettes. The Senate and House of Representatives voted to pass the FY14 budget.

“I remain steadfast in my belief that it is unfair to place such a substantial burden on the hardworking taxpayers of the Commonwealth,” said Senator Ross. “I recognize that there are several positive elements of this budget, particularly the inclusion of a program I have long fought for, offering discounted or free admission to state forests and beaches for veterans. However, I am compelled to refuse such excessive increases in the taxes imposed on Massachusetts citizens.”

Senator Ross was pleased to see an amendment that he has long advocated for included in the final budget. The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will be required to develop a plan to provide veterans with free or reduced admission to DCR-controlled facilities, including public forests and beaches. Senator Ross’ amendment assess long-term cost implications of this program prior to its implementation by mandating that DCR report to the Legislature on the plan’s impacts and DCR’s ability to maintain the program.

Although Senator Ross was proud to see this positive development built into the legislation, he could not support the $500 million in tax increases included in the transportation finance legislation that the budget depended on. The bill will increase the gas tax by 3 cents per gallon, and tie subsequent increases to inflation, as well as increase the tax on cigarettes by $1 per pack. Additionally, the 6.25% sales tax will be imposed on computer system design services.

Please contact the office of Senator Ross with any questions or concerns at (617) 722-1555 or Richard.Ross@masenate.gov.

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