BOSTON – Gov. Deval L. Patrick released his proposed 2013 budget last week, a $32.3 billion spending plan that would increase K-12 education spending and eliminate 400 executive-branch positions, The Boston Globe reported.
The budget is up 2.98 percent overall over the current year. Patrick called for new revenue from several sources: eliminating a sales tax exemption on candy and soda; increasing taxes on cigarettes and raising taxes on cigars and smokeless tobacco to the same level as cigarettes; and expanding the state’s bottle bill, the Globe said. Tax collections are also expected to grow by 4.5 percent, or $940 million, over last year’s estimates.
Patrick also announced as part of the budget the closure of the Bay State Correctional Facility in Norfolk, which will result in $8.9 million in savings. According to a news release, the closure is consistent with sentencing reform, the administration’s larger Corrections Master Plan and efforts to strengthen the state’s corrections and community- supervision programs.
The budget proposes state aid to local schools of $4.136 billion – a record high for the state – and a $10 million increase in funding for community colleges. The elimination of 400 positions would save $30 million.
Using Patrick’s plan as a starting point, the House and Senate will each propose their own spending plans within the next three months. The sides must agree to a final product before getting it to Patrick’s desk for a signature in time for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. •