To the People of Massachusetts:
Lieutenant Governor Murray and I are pleased to file our budget recommendations for fiscal year 2014.
We have proposed a balanced, responsible budget that makes investments in education, innovation, and infrastructure that will grow jobs and opportunity in the near-term, and strengthen our Commonwealth in the long term. We have also proposed a series of reforms to change the way government does business to achieve savings, improve performance and renew trust in government.
We have made great progress to responsibly address our long-term liabilities. We have taken steps to control growth in health care costs. And we have taken steps to address the deficiencies in our transportation system. Yet, even with these reforms the state budget is challenged to make critical investments in our economy, particularly those in education and transportation, while meeting our obligation to protect the most vulnerable residents in our communities.
Our fiscal year 2014 budget calls for such investments and pays for them with a thoughtful and responsible revenue proposal aimed to help rationalize our state collections. The result will be a more progressive, equitable and transparent tax structure. I do not submit this proposal lightly. I understand that many households in Massachusetts continue to struggle under the economic consequences of the Great Recession. But I firmly believe that investing meaningfully today in education and transportation will significantly improve our economic tomorrows.
Each of us has a stake in our future, and each of us should contribute to improving it. I therefore propose broad-based tax changes to generate new revenue. My consideration of the many options has been guided by three principles. First, new revenue must be comprehensive, allowing us to pay our bills, maintain what we have, and invest in strategic development calculated to foster economic growth. Second, new revenue must be dedicated, particularly in the case of transportation, targeted to specific investments and projects so we maintain the discipline of our plan over time. And third, new revenue sources must be competitive and fair, so that taxes remain within range of our neighbors and we limit the impact the most economically vulnerable. With those principles in mind, our budget proposes to restructure our tax system to place less reliance on the sales tax and more reliance on the income tax. This budget supports investments in education, innovation, and infrastructure.
In fiscal year 2014, we will continue to use the budget as a vehicle to reform state government.
This year the budget is presented in a new program format for the first time. It will provide comprehensive information on how taxpayer dollars are being spent, making the budget more accessible and transparent than ever.
We are also launching MassResults, the next phase of the Commonwealth’s efforts to make state government more transparent,effective and efficient. Led by the Office of Commonwealth Performance, Accountability and Transparency (CPAT), this initiative builds on the work done to date to change the way state government does business.
It will include the publication of strategic plans alongside the new program budget, which will provide residents of the Commonwealth unprecedented information about how their tax dollars are being spent and what the Administration is looking to achieve with this funding.
While we have made great strides we have had to make difficult choices to balance this budget. These choices impact families, businesses, lives. We understand that. But in the long run, these choices allow us to be responsible to the next generation.