Mass. lawmakers return to debate state budget

Massachusetts lawmakers return to Beacon Hill to open debate on $33.8 billion state budget

Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) -- The Massachusetts House is weighing a $33.8 billion state budget proposal for the fiscal year starting July 1.

The debate that began on Monday is expected to last several days, with nearly 900 amendments to consider.

The budget approved by the House Ways and Means Committee would increase spending by nearly 4 percent over current year levels. Gov. Deval Patrick had sought a nearly 7 percent spending increase, and had proposed nearly $2 billion in new taxes for transportation and education.

The Legislature earlier approved a transportation financing plan that calls for hikes in gasoline and cigarette taxes.

Among the amendments defeated during Monday's debate included a Republican plan to roll back income and sales taxes to 5 percent, and a proposal to cap the state's film industry tax credit at $40 million.

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