Four months after the T’s collapse this past February, the state has reached a pivotal moment in which the Legislature must make crucial decisions on the future of the state’s key public transit system. If lawmakers adopt a bill with only incremental changes, rather than providing the Governor with the full complement of tools to fix the T, they will doom the MBTA’s future and undermine the state’s economy.
But just two months after passing the “tech tax,” as it had become known, Massachusetts repealed it. Opposition from the state’s business forces rained down pressure on lawmakers. The new law, they claimed, was putting them out of business. “It got very bruising,” says Andrew Bagley, research and public affairs director of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
Leaders from groups like the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation were joined by a handful of mayors from Revere, Gardner, Attleboro, Framingham, Braintree and Melrose.
In December, Patrick's secretary of administration and finance, Glen Shor, disputed an analysis by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation alleging a deficit significantly larger than the $329 million problem flagged by Patrick's team right after the November elections.
But the additional revenue does not mean budget writers will have an easy job. Andrew Bagley, director of research and public affairs for the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, warned that increases in spending for Medicaid, pensions and retiree health care, along with spending for debt owed through the MBTA and School Building Authority "will consume most, if not all, of the $1.1 billion in new tax revenues."