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Golden Urges Caution on Governor's Budget Figures

State Representative Tom Golden (D-Lowell) says the Governor's announcement earlier this week may change once the legislature gets a chance to take a look at it.

 

Earlier this week, Governor Deval Patrick announced a $34.8 billion state budget that has led one of Chelmsford's representatives on Beacon Hill to urge caution on anyone thinking those numbers are set in stone.

State Representative Tom Golden, who serves Chelmsford's Second, Third and Fifth Precincts as well as all of Lowell north of the Merrimack River, told Chelmsford Patch that the Governor's total amount includes many measures that are subject to review by the legislature, and may be changed.

Following the announcement, he says he received numerous phone calls from constituents opposing the Governor's announced plan, with none in support.

"I think the entire budget is going to be tough," said Golden. "There's some opportunity, but raising the income tax or the cigarette tax or the sales tax is a non-starter. All the feedback I'm getting is that (my constitutents) are not in favor of that, that they want to see additional reforms before they see any new revenue."

The Governor's proposed budget now heads to the House Ways and Means Committee, who will examine the budget before moving a recommendation to the full house, likely sometime in the spring.

Glenn January 26, 2013 at 06:16 PM
Thank you Tom. It is nice to know that there are still voices of reason in the legislature. Keep up speaking up.
Mike Combs January 26, 2013 at 07:52 PM
We don't need new revenue? Chelmsford hikes my property taxes every year in large part to make up for the cuts to local aid and underfunding of our Chapter 70 school money. That's not fair to seniors on fixed incomes, or people in low-wage jobs who have to pay hundreds of dollars in fees. Besides, Golden is wrong about the Governor's proposal. The Governor proposed *lowering* the sales tax. That will help Chelmsford businesses that have competition just across the border in New Hampshire.
John Doe January 27, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Mike, please take your hand (and the governors) out of my pocket. There is so much waste and abuse in this state that its a joke to suggest raising ANYTHING while huge, bloated, wasteful government programs are sucking hundreds of millions annually. You think the state has refused privately-funded audits of the state for no reason?
ron johnson January 28, 2013 at 04:32 PM
Mike, Two problems with the logic. If you have to pay more in taxes you will spend less. If you think that your property taxes will go down, think again. Second, If I am going to buy an item that I can take with me and it is a high ticket item I am still going to NH, zero sales tax is still less than 4.25%. The state budget is bloated and filled with waste, overpaid employees and inefficient programs. I would like to see more thought about cutting some of the programs that automatically just saying lets raise taxes.
Mike Combs January 28, 2013 at 05:01 PM
If you think the reduction in local aid and Chapter 70 school funds don't have anything to do with your property taxes, I urge you to run for Town Meeting Rep. You can see the budget impact first hand and vote on your own property taxes and services. In some Chelmsford precincts the seats go unfilled and you could be elected with very little effort. It matters a lot *how* we pay taxes. Taxes on income go easier on people with low income (duh, right?) but taxes on property are often a hardship on seniors. Fee hikes for buses, sports, activities, leaf collection, garbage collection, and sewer grinder pumps also hit hard.
ron johnson January 28, 2013 at 06:32 PM
Mike, I always love it when you ignore the comment and then go off on a rant. I did not say that the property taxes were not related to state aid, I said, they will not go down. The government alwasys finds a way to spend what it takes in. Secondly, I also did not say that an income tax did not impact people differently that a sales tax. A sales tax is a regressive and I agree it certainly helps. my point is it is not an incentive to change spending habits. What I do know is if you keep taxing people who work, and make it more desirable to live in NH, then more companies will just cross the border. Also, I may be wrong, but the gov is raising the fees on a host of things, so I guess you are happy about that as well.
Mike Combs January 28, 2013 at 06:58 PM
Ron, Town Meeting Reps are volunteers voting on their own property taxes. If they can go down, they will go down. If our local aid hadn't been cut by 50% over the past 10 years, and our Chapter 70 school funding was actually fulfilled, we'd have lower property taxes.
ron johnson January 28, 2013 at 08:04 PM
I have not seen this reduction in my property taxes, they went up again last year. When have they gone down. As far as schools we have one less and maybe that helps with school funding. Mike you have chosen to ignore the rest of the comment, but I am not surprised. The State is increasing fees for many things that people use everyday, the cost to use the MBTA is going up, tolls for use of the roads in the state are still there. Mike, the real issue is that the state wants more revenue and refuses to deal with costs. At some point, people and companies will vote with their feet and leave the state. You can increase taxes all you want, if there are fewer people paying into the system, you will not come out ahead. I am waiting for one person who votes for a Dem actually admit that raising taxes is not the answer.
Mike Combs January 28, 2013 at 08:13 PM
Every year that the state has cut funding to Chelmsford, property taxes have gone up. And I'm waiting for one person who votes Republican to admit that there is no free lunch. It costs money to maintain roads, pay for schools, run a subway system, and it even costs money to send local aid and Chapter 70 checks back to cities and towns.
ron johnson January 28, 2013 at 08:51 PM
Mike, Again, you are mispresenting what I have said, I am not convinced that the state has cut waste. All we have to do is look at projects like the big dig to see waste in action. And to top it off, it has pieces of it falling on people. As far as a free lunch, I worked two jobs to pay my way through college and grad school. No one gave me anything and I borrowed no money. I work hard and pay more in taxes than some people make. I do not have a free lunch. To question spending and increases in taxes is not asking for a free lunch. I guess when you go out to eat and they give you a bill for your dinner, you really do not care how they arrived at the cost and you really do not care if you think you got value for the money you spend. I would like to know that my money is well spent and actually does good. I also have no problem paying taxes for schools despite the fact that I have sent my kids to private schools. It is called the greater good. To call me names and to misrepresent what I say, is the lowest type of debate. Mike you can keep trying to tell yourself that more taxes is always the answer, I like to know why they are needed first.
ron johnson January 28, 2013 at 08:53 PM
And by the way, will the increase in taxes, provide more local aid. I am not convinced. Also, I am not convinced that there will be an increase in revenues anyway. People actually have to be working to pay income taxes.
Mike Combs January 28, 2013 at 08:58 PM
Waste is a separate issue from whether or not we're going to collect taxes through income (fair), or through property (unfair to seniors), or through sales (hurts businesses near New Hampshire). When the state doesn't collect enough revenue to fund local aid and Chapter 70, Chelmsford raises property taxes to recoup the lost income. The governor's proposal specifically reduces sales tax and allocates more money to Chapter 70.
ron johnson January 28, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Waste is not a separate issue. Where do you think the money from taxes goes. Also, how much do you really think will make it way to Chelmsford. I say not enough to offset another increase in property taxes next year. As far as sales tax, reduction by 2% mean nothing for the businesses, people will still opt for zero taxes. Also, listen carefully, I am not debating the worth and fairness of each tax, I am question the need and the wisdom of raising anyone's taxes. Again, I ask to prove to me, how much are property taxes will go down with a big windfall. I say not at all. Our local government will find someway to spend the money.
ron johnson January 28, 2013 at 09:51 PM
Mike, Revenues shortfalls are caused by the economy by the way. Raising taxes on anyone will not stimulate growth and the reduction of the sales tax will not increase revenues, if anything, it will reduce them, because I am not convinced that 2% is enough to change people's habits of going to NH for the big items. Also the proposals to apply the sales tax to candy and soda, which are currently exempt, and to raise the state tax on cigarettes by $1, to $3.51 per package, while cause more people to go north.

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