State budget writers focus on energy and environmental priorities

The Governor's budget proposal raises no taxes or fees

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Governor Charlie Baker wants to your lower electricity bills by expanding the state’s energy sources to include: solar, hydropower and wind.

State budget writers are taking a deeper look at Governor Charlie Baker’s $39.55 billion dollar budget proposal for fiscal year 2017, which starts July 1. Worthington State Representative Stephen Kulik led Tuesday’s State House hearing.

He said, “Today’s hearing is on the subjects of the environmental accounts: energy, transportation and all those subsidiary agencies.”

The Governor’s budget proposal calls for $232 million dollars in spending solely for the state’s environmental needs, which includes: managing fish and wildlife, maintaining state parks and reducing pollution. Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matt Beaton stressed the importance of lowering energy costs for both businesses and families.

“Industrial, commercial and residential electric customers in the Commonwealth currently pay some of the highest rates for electricity in the country,” said Secretary Beaton.

Beaton urged state lawmakers to take action on the Governor’s proposed clean energy legislation. He said the state can reduce electricity costs by expanding solar power, hydroelectric, and wind initiatives, both land-based and possibly offshore. Beaton believes the federal government will likely approve natural gas pipelines if the state doesn’t expand renewable energy.

The Governor’s budget proposal raises no taxes or fees. House lawmakers will release their spending plan in the spring.

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