The state needs new revenue—in other words, new taxes—to make up for a budget shortfall of up to $750 million this year, says Senate President Stan Rosenberg. But, despite the need, he says not to expect those new taxes anytime soon.
"The Senate can't originate taxation, only the House and the Governor...so it's DOA for the moment," he explained.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that lower-than-expected tax revenue would leave the state grasping for $350 to $750 million dollars. Because a significant portion of the state's budget is set in stone, based on contractual and federal obligations, that means that the shortfall will have to be made up in the budget's much smaller, discretionary portion.
"The whole discretionary portion of the government is on the table," Rosenberg said. "Everything from the environment, the courts, state public safety—not local public safety—public higher education, almost all the health and human services stuff outside Medicaid."
Rosenberg pointed to a 2018 ballot question on a 'millionaires tax'—which would level a 4% surtax on all earnings over $1 million—as a way of potentially alleviating budget pressures. But until then, he doesn't anticipate any new taxes coming out of Beacon Hill.
"I do think we need more revenue," Rosenberg said. "But we're not there yet."
To hear more from Senate President Stan Rosenberg, tune in to Boston Public Radio above.