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Metro News Reports
BOSTON – House leadership rolled out a $42.7 billion budget for fiscal year 2020 on Wednesday, a spending plan that largely mirrors Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposal but eschews his revenue-raising ideas like new taxes on vaping and opioid manufacturers.
The proposal, which the House is expected to debate in formal sessions the week of April 22, would boost total state spending by 3 percent over the current year’s budget and came in with a bottom line almost identical – but slightly below – what Baker proposed. The budget includes no increases to broad-based taxes.
“As is the House’s history in the past, I think you will find this budget to be fiscally responsible,” House Speaker Robert DeLeo told reporters Wednesday morning. “You will see various targeted investments in terms of growing our economy, as well as making sure we increase support for the most vulnerable residents of the commonwealth.”
The budget, which was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee during a meeting that was closed to the media, counts on $133 million in new revenue from marijuana sales, $294 million from gaming taxes including assumed revenue from Encore Boston Harbor, $42 million from online sales tax from retailers and $28 million in revenue from a newly-implemented tax on short-term rentals through services like Airbnb.
House leaders opted against other revenue sources, some of which were proposed by Baker. Notably, the Ways and Means budget does not include revenue from sports betting ($35 million), does not expand tobacco excise taxes to e-cigarettes and vapor products ($6 million), and does not include Baker’s proposed tax on opioid manufacturers ($14 million).
The House, as DeLeo indicated earlier this week, is not pursuing its own tax proposals in the budget, even though House leaders are proposing to ramp up spending on K-12 education as part of a multi-year investment.