Gov. Charlie Baker prepares to release first state budget

Baker has until Wednesday to file his spending plan

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has his work cut out for him as he prepares to unveil his first state budget proposal.

Baker has until Wednesday to file his spending plan for the 2016 fiscal year that begins July 1.

Baker has already grappled with a projected $768 million budget shortfall for the current fiscal year.

State lawmakers quickly approved his plan to close that hole through a series of cuts, a tax amnesty program, and the use of capital gains tax revenue that typically would go into the state’s rainy day fund.

Now a key taxpayer watchdog group says Massachusetts’ budget shortfall could be as high as $1.5 billion for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation’s projected shortfall assumes funding for programs considered discretionary, from public safety to aid to municipalities, stays level.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press

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