Thursday, October 8, 2009

Charting a Course through the Storm

Today the Senate Committee on Ways and Means (of which I am a member), the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Secretary of Administration and Finance held a joint hearing to hear from some of the state’s top economists about a significant projected gap in the state budget for the current fiscal year and the outlook for next year.

A detailed itemization of projected deficits was provided by Michael Widmer of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, summarized below:

• Income tax:-$150 million
• Sales tax:-$250 million
• Corporate and Business taxes:-$200 million

The general consensus from the experts seemed to be that the current shortfall will be approximately $600 million, although estimates did vary. In the near term this will almost certainly dictate budget cuts, probably in mid-October. More generally, however, it means the Governor and the legislature must redouble efforts to reform, streamline, find and capture savings, and create a better climate for economic growth and job creation.

To read the agenda for the hearing which details those who testified and some of the written testimony submitted to the committee please click the document below.

Ways and Means Revenue Hearing October 8