Lawmakers seek new revenue after budget shortfall

The state is currently more than $460-million dollars below expectations in tax collections

BOSTON (WWLP) – The state is currently more than $460 million dollars below expectations in tax collections for this fiscal year. State lawmakers are looking at ways to bring in more revenue next fiscal year.

April is typically one of the biggest months for tax collections, but they came in $241-million short, putting the state $462-million below projected revenue.

“460 million is a big number no doubt in absolute terms, but in relative terms, there are things we can do around the margins and the edges,” said Governor Charlie Baker, (R) Massachusetts.

State lawmakers are now considering adjusting their budget plans for next fiscal year. One plan to recoup lost money is to raise taxes by 4 percent on incomes of more than $1-million dollars. The proposal could come before voters on the 2018 ballot.

Related: Revenue base eroding as annual budget talks ramp-up

“Well at this point in time, it’s not before the legislature or before the administration, but, as I’ve said before, we shouldn’t be raising taxes on hard-working people in Massachusetts,” Baker told 22News.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo, (D-Winthrop), is opposed to any broad-based tax increases. But he told 22News, “Issues relative to Airbnb, marijuana tax, I think that’s more open.”

Lawmakers plan to vote on the the the tax, known as the “Fair Share Amendment” in mid-June.

While some lawmakers argue the budget shortfall is relatively small, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, (D) Amherst, told 22News he’s concerned about the revenue drain on the budget, “The fundamental services that people need out of government is being squeezed out by healthcare and pensions and debt service,” said Rosenberg. “We’re going to have to have a much bigger conversation about revenues and it starts with closing loopholes.”

The Senate Budget Committee is expected to release their version of next year’s spending plan on Tuesday.

Related: Massachusetts lawmakers look for revenue to balance budget