BOSTON – Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, sounded off today on Gov. Deval Patrick’s announcement of $225 million in cuts proposed to close an estimated $540 million budget deficit for fiscal 2013.
“Gov. Patrick is confronting the harsh reality of a faltering economic recovery and budgetary paralysis in Washington to meet the requirements of a balanced budget. Yet it’s also a harsh reality that this situation could and should have been addressed by more aggressive action to create a better climate for economic growth.
"Too many action items have been left on the table, and we are now beginning to see the costs of that inaction on matters that really count.
"Today, Gov. Patrick talked about the importance of seizing opportunities. But we might not have even been in such a precarious position if the Governor had approved, rather than vetoed, legislative initiatives that would have allowed Massachusetts businesses to thrive and grow. Allowing business tax payments to be made on a quarterly basis, extending brownfields tax credits for rehabilitating presently unusable sites, and providing a three-year tax credit for start-up corporations would have removed some of the barriers that businesses have told us are real impediments to growth. These were all sent to the Governor’s desk with bipartisan support and rejected. With the unemployment rate rising to 6.6 percent, no government priority should be higher than getting Massachusetts residents back to work.
"We are facing a clear choice now. We can continue down the same path and find ourselves having to make additional cuts, or we can take decisive actions, such as appointing a fiscal control board for the MBTA and halting planned expansions of lines and services when we can’t afford the ones we already have. It’s time for the Legislature to revisit and take action on initiatives to control the cost of health care, including moving Medicaid patients to managed care and addressing costly health care mandates. It’s time to provide relief to businesses from the crushing burden of unemployment insurance rates that are among the highest in the nation. And it’s also time for the Gaming Commission to accelerate efforts to bring in new revenues, and that revenue should be spent to avoid cuts and to support existing commitments, rather than funding new spending programs.
"The proposal of these cuts is a call for action to spur economic growth and avoid future cuts before important programs like local aid are further imperiled.”