Murphy cuts deep, includes cap gains, tax credit measures
House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Murphy unveiled a lean $27.4 billion budget for next year that includes steep spending cuts across state government, as well as look-to-the-future initiatives to bolster the state's rainy day account and assess the value of tax credits handed out to businesses of all kinds.
The budget proposal cuts local aid by $424 million, trims public safety spending by $107 million, eliminates $20 million for MWRA rate relief, and requires all state employees to shoulder 30 percent of the cost of their health insurance, saving $135 million. State employees currently pay either 15 percent or 20 percent of their health insurance cost, depending on their starting date in state employment.
"There are cuts in virtually all areas of state government," Murphy told reporters. "We tried to do as least harm as we could."
The other initiative would require far more disclosure about who is receiving tax credits from the state and what kind of impact the tax credits are having in creating good-paying jobs. Gov. Deval Patrick included an identical measure in his budget plan, and his aides said it was based on reports and commentary in CommonWealth magazine over the last year.
To help local communities facing a cut in state aid that averages 6.6 percent, Murphy said House Speaker Robert DeLeo plans to work on a "municipal relief package" next month. Murphy said his budget plan would also create a commission to study regionalization of services across all levels of local government.