EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

April 6, 2013

Dempsey: 'Highly unlikely' house will go above $500M on new taxes

(Continued)

Dempsey said the bill before the House is a “reasonable” plan that will provide for some expansion in transit services once employees are moved off the capital budget.

“If that is not achieved next week, we have other matters to move on to, which is the budget,” he said.

The House Ways and Means Committee plans to release its full fiscal 2014 budget plan on Wednesday.

A Patrick spokeswoman said in a statement that Patrick remains open to working with lawmakers on transportation.

“The Governor respects the Speaker’s prerogative to pass this bill in whatever way he feels necessary, but has made clear that he cannot and will not support a bill that doesn’t meet the Commonwealth’s basic transportation and education needs, let alone makes critical investments the future,” said Patrick spokeswoman Heather Johnson. “He remains open to working with the Legislature to find a long-term solution.”

After Patrick’s criticism Thursday of the plan offered by legislative leaders, which Patrick called “not serious,” Dempsey and Senate budget chief Stephen Brewer wrote a letter to lawmakers Friday defending their plan and DeLeo’s office disseminated a “fact versus fiction” memo disputing claims that their plan locks the state into transportation system underfunding, will not fund road and maintenance projects, and will lead to fare hikes.

In the letter, Dempsey and Brewer apushed back against criticism that their plan will leave infrastructure neglected and will jeopardize the $1.3 billion Green Line extension.

“Our plan funds MassDOT’s and the MBTA’s existing long-term capital plans,” Dempsey and Brewer wrote. “These plans include the Green Line extension and new Red and Orange line subway cars. House 1 would implement a major expansion of the transportation system without first addressing current unsound fiscal practices.”

Dempsey and Brewer concluded, “The Governor’s plan asks the taxpayer to carry the risk of his vision. Our proposal addresses critical infrastructure needs without over burdening taxpayers, who are still struggling to meet their financial needs as we slowly exit the recession.”

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