State Of Commonwealth, MBTA Cut Talks Continue

By Sarah Birnbaum

Jan. 23, 3011

BOSTON — It’s a busy week at the Massachusetts State House, including the state of the state address and the unveiling of Governor Deval Patrick’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2013. 

Governor Deval Patrick delivers his state of the Commonwealth speech tonight in the House chamber. He’s likely to touch on themes including health-care reform, education reform and the brightening economic picture. Patrick’s comments come just weeks after the state's jobless rate fell to 6.8 percent, the lowest it's been in three years.

And on Wednesday, Patrick will unveil a proposed state budget that calls for spending cuts and higher taxes on tobacco, candy and soda. It will also call for direct state aid to cities and towns to remain level-funded, and for  aid for local schools to go up by 145 million dollars. 

According to the Patrick Administration, state tax revenues are expected to go up 4.5% next fiscal year as Massachusetts continues to claw its way out of the recession, but the increase alone won’t make up for the surging demand for social services.

And the MBTA continues hearings around the state on plans to raise fares and dramatically cut service. There are two proposals on the table: Both would eliminate ferry service and end commuter rail service on the weekends and after 10 p.m. on the weekdays.

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