State lawmakers learning more about Baker’s budget proposal

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BOSTON (WWLP) – State lawmakers are learning more about Governor Charlie Baker’s $4.5 billion budget proposal.

Governor Baker has ruled out broad-based tax increases. The state Legislature, on the other hand, are exploring ways to bring in more revenues.

Baker’s Budget Chief, Secretary Kristen Lepore is most concerned about the growing cost of “MassHealth,” the state’s Medicaid program.

“Representing 40-percent of the FY18 budget, MassHealth continues to threaten to crowd out spending in other important programs like education and local aid,” said Lepore.

The state is spending billions of your tax dollars on health insurance for people who are employed.

Governor Baker proposed levying a fee on businesses that don’t offer employee health insurance as a way to offset growing “MassHealth” costs.

Tax collections are coming in below expectations. Although Governor Baker’s spending plan includes no new broad-based tax increases, state lawmakers have yet to rule out raising taxes to pay for critical services.

“We are behind in terms of the February numbers, but I think we have to give it some time to play out before we start throwing broad-based tax increases on the table,” said Rep. Todd Smola.

Lawmakers will now hold budget hearings across the state to get input from the public.

If you’d like to make your voice heard, state lawmakers will be traveling to UMass Amherst on Wednesday, March 29.

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