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February 15, 2013

Lawmakers open hearings on Patrick budget proposal

BOSTON (AP) — Lawmakers have opened hearings on Gov. Deval Patrick’s $34.8 billion budget proposal, which includes nearly $2 billion in new revenues for transportation and education.

Senate Ways and Means Chairman Stephen Brewer said at Thursday’s initial hearing that there was still uncertainty over the state’s fiscal condition and whether revenues will meet expectations.

Brewer also said many lawmakers have heard from constituents who are concerned about the proposed tax changes and increase in spending. But he promised a thorough and lengthy review of the governor’s plan.

Patrick has called for hiking the state income tax from 5.25 percent to 6.25 percent, while lowering the sales tax from 6.25 to 4.5 percent.

Secretary of Administration and Finance Glen Shor told lawmakers the budget would allow the state to make key investments in transportation and education.

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