As college student loan debt continues to climb nationally, lawmakers in Massachusetts are proposing some ways to help.
A subcommittee of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Higher Education approved a report this week that contains nine recommendations including trying to decrease the time it takes to earn a college degree, increase state aid, and require all Massachusetts high school students to take a financial literacy course.
The Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee released its proposed state budget this week. It calls for slightly less spending than the $32.6 million budget proposed by Governor Deval Patrick. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with State Representative Stephen Kulik of Worthington, who is vice-chair of the committee.
Experts have told Massachusetts state budget writers to expect modest growth in tax collections next year as the state’s economy and employment continue to grow. If the forecasts are correct it should mean enough funding for legislative priorities such as local aid and education without need for tax increases.
Lawmakers in Massachusetts face several key financial decisions this week.
The Legislature is expected to take up an amendment proposed by Gov. Deval Patrick to a transportation finance bill that would allow the state's gasoline tax to rise if tolls on the western portion of the Massachusetts Turnpike are taken down as scheduled in 2017.
Legislative leaders have said they oppose the amendment, while Patrick says he will veto the transportation bill unless the change is made.
The Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday approved a $33.8 billion state budget that boosts spending on higher education and local aid.
The proposed budget is $ 1 billion less than what Governor Deval Patrick recommended. Committee vice-chair Democrat Stephen Kulik of Worthington says the only new taxes are the ones approved by the full house earlier this week for transportation.
Amid the uncertainty of the fiscal cliff and declining state revenues, this week Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick proposed a series of mid-year budget cuts to close a half-billion dollar gap in state funding. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard spoke to some that are concerned about the cuts.
Governor Patrick used his authority to propose emergency cuts in the state’s budget to close a $540 million gap in funding. And many are hoping that some of the governor’s planned cuts can be avoided.
The Patrick Administration’s top budget official warns failure to avert the “fiscal cliff” in Washington will seriously harm the Massachusetts state budget. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports
If the country goes over the so-called “ fiscal cliff” Massachusetts could lose $300 million in tax revenue this fiscal year and $1 billion dollars next year. It would also cost the state $200 million in federal funding that helps pay for a variety of programs according to the Massachusetts Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez.