Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
ACA Fully Implemented: The budget assumes full implementation of the ACA. MassHealth expands, absorbing 325,000 more members. But the cost of their coverage will be more than made up by increased federal revenue, resulting in a net gain of $156 million. Another 150,000 low-income people will receive state assistance through the Health Connector to supplement federal tax credits, called the “State Wrap.” This supplement is critical to maintain the strong affordability protections in current programs. The brief breaks the news that the state will receive 50/50 federal reimbursement for part of the cost of the wrap, as it does now for existing programs. As a result, this coverage will save the state $50 million compared to current costs. The bottom line is a $205 million fiscal gain for Massachusetts.The budget is not the last word in the legislature on implementing the ACA. Additional legislation will be needed, and we understand the Governor will be filing a bill soon. We will be looking to write into statute the current affordability provisions and other consumer protections to lock in the gains that people depend on.
I’ll leave the nattering naybobbing to the Boston Herald:
“Brainpower is our signature economic edge, and failing to invest in that in Massachusetts would be like Texas failing to support the oil industry or Iowa their corn farmers,” Patrick told lawmakers. “If we want growth, we need investment. That new investment will require new revenue.”
Patrick’s proposal would hike the state income tax from 5.25 percent to 6.25 percent, while lowering the sales tax from 6.25 to 4.5 percent. He said under his plan families earning less than $62,000 a year would pay essentially the same or less in taxes.
The proposal has met with skepticism on Beacon Hill.
On Thursday, House Speaker Robert DeLeo called for a much smaller tax package, saying he wants to address critical needs while avoiding any “collateral damage” to the state’s economy.
DeLeo told the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce that he shares Patrick’s top two priorities — transportation and education — but is worried the administration’s proposal would put too heavy a burden on working families and businesses.
“If we are to pass a new revenue package, I believe it should be far more narrow in scope and of a significantly smaller size,” DeLeo said.
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