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(NECN: Alison King) - It is Deval Patrick's last budget as he begins his eighth and final year in office.
The $36.4 billion dollar plan includes a 4.9 percent increase in spending over the current year.
"This is a balanced, responsible budget that supports economic growth by investing in education, innovation and in infrastructure," Governor Patrick said.
After non-discretionary spending on things like Medicare, debt service and pensions, that leaves about $500 million dollars.
Of that, the Governor has proposed investing:
-$141 million for the transportation department and the MBTA
-$9.1 million on youth and adults re-entering society after prison time and
-$205 million for public education
"Researchers, educators, parents, business leaders and policy makers all agree that children who have access to early education have a greater chance to succeed," the governor said.
Michael Widmer of the Mass Taxpayers Association described the budget this way: "it's a straight forward, steady as you go, no frills budget."
Widmer says he does not expect the legislature to go along with the one proposed tax increase of removing the tax exemption on candy and soda.
As for aid to cities and Cities and towns, the governor’s plan calls for level funding, which Geoff Beckwith of the Massachusetts Municipal Association calls disappointing, adding, "By level funding local aid, it means that cities and towns have to struggle mightily and increase their reliance on the property tax just to hold in place when we need to be making those types of investments to move forward."
Beckwith hopes the legislature provides the boost that the Governor's plan does not.
The Governor's Budget now goes on to the House Ways and Means Committee where there are sure to be changes.
"They'll put their own stamp on it but I think we're going to see sort of a vanilla budget process this year," Widmer said.
In addition, Governor Patrick has rescheduled his State of the Commonwealth address to Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 7:00 p.m.