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Brownsberger: Governor's Budget a "Good Starting Point"

The governor released his proposed $34.8 billion budget last week that featured an income tax hike, a sales tax decrease, and investment in education and transportation.

Gov. Deval Patrick's $34.8 billion budget released last week "opens up a great conversation," said Fenway's State Senator Will Brownsberger (D-Belmont).

"There are whole lot of moving parts ,and we really need to study how all those things are going to interact and what they best ways for revenue are," Brownsberger said in a telephone interview on Friday. "He’s eliminated some deductions and created new ones but as to how that all stands up, we’ll have to study it."

The biggest boon for the Fenway neighborhood, Brownsberger said, is the improved funding for the MBTA.

"That's big in the governor's proposal, and big in what I think we need to do," he said. 

Patrick’s proposal, submitted Jan. 23, asks for an increase in the income tax from 5.25 percent to 6.25 percent coupled with a reduction in the sales tax from 6.25 percent to 4.5 percent. It also doubles personal exemptions. 

The budget also calls for a total investment of $6.79 billion in education next year, with $131 million going toward early education, $226 million in Chapter 70 local aid, and $152 million toward making college more affordable and accessible.

Brownsberger said the proposed budget does address many of the points the state senate is looking to address, mainly education, but noted there are some areas that need to be addressed as well, including public health, mental health and the DCR. 

"We have to put that out there with an understanding that is going to take some time to evolve, so there’s a bunch of work to do," he said. "It’s really just a starting point. We'll have the house budget and the senate budget too, so the vote we finally take will reflect what the governor has put forward."

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