Senate Republicans to offer package of tax alternatives

(I agree with a lot.  If the film companies don’t come here because there are no tax incentives how does it save $110M though? – promoted by EaBo Clipper)

Senate Republicans to offer package of tax alternatives

More than $1 billion in budget reforms and cost-savings being proposed

BOSTON – Noting that Massachusetts residents cannot afford broad-based tax increases, Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei today unveiled more than $1 billion in cost-savings and reforms the Senate Republican Caucus has filed for consideration during the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget debate.

The proposals represent more than a dozen cost-saving measures ranging from the elimination of the $2 million Lottery advertising account to the repeal of the controversial Pacheco Law, which is expected to generate between $150 million and $300 million in savings.  Senate Republicans say adoption of the amendments – which would produce a total estimated savings of $1.072 billion – would eliminate the need for new tax increases.

“There seems to be a real disconnect between those on Beacon Hill and the taxpayers across the state,” said Senator Tisei.  “People who are trying to hold on to their jobs and struggling to put food on their tables and make their mortgage payments don’t want to hear about tax increases; they want to know what we are doing to eliminate waste and make government run more efficiently.  All everyone seems to be talking about is raising taxes, but why can’t we explore other alternatives?  Let’s focus on reforms and other cost-saving measures instead of taking more money away from the state’s hard-working taxpayers at a time they can least afford it.”

Among the amendments the Republican Caucus has filed are ones to:

Repeal the Pacheco Law – Since this anti-privatization measure was approved during the Weld Administration, the state has lost out on the opportunity to save hundreds of millions of dollars through the outsourcing of certain government programs and services.  The law has effectively stifled state privatization efforts by keeping most work in-house, even when a private company could potentially deliver the same services more efficiently and at less cost.  (Estimated savings: $150 million-$300 million)

Implement a statewide wage and hiring freeze for non-essential government employees – Given the uncertainty of the economy and the reality of multi-billion dollar budget deficits, the Commonwealth is in no position to be hiring more people and granting pay raises.  This amendment imposes a one-year moratorium on new government hires and wage increases for the duration of Fiscal Year 2010.  Only vacancies deemed to be critical to public safety would be filled, with the prior approval of the Secretary of Administration and Finance.  (Estimated savings: $140 million)

Require Medicaid to enroll all participants in managed care plans – Currently, only 35 percent of MassHealth recipients are members of a Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MMCO), which provide incentives for managing illnesses before they become more acute or expensive to treat.  This amendment would require all MassHealth participants to enroll in managed care plans, which have been proven to cost less while delivering superior health care.  (Estimated savings: $150 million)

Repeal the film tax incentive – Rather than handing out millions of dollars in lucrative tax breaks to Hollywood producers and actors, the state should eliminate this costly boondoggle and save millions of dollars in the process.  (Estimated savings: $110 million)

Streamline the process for the sale of surplus land/allow private sponsorship of state facilities and assets – Streamlining the process for selling surplus state property by eliminating the need for legislative approval would ensure a faster, more efficient process for raising funds from unused and underutilized assets.  In addition, allowing private sponsorship of state facilities and assets presents another potentially lucrative opportunity to raise additional funding to pay for essential state programs and services. (Estimated savings: $25 million each)

Other amendments included in the Republican Caucus’ package are proposals to:

• Repeal the “biotech bailout” Life Sciences Bill ($100 million)

• Eliminate the Lottery advertising account ($2 million)

• Reduce prescription medication waste ($75 million)

• Require agency reports to be distributed electronically ($10 million)

• Eliminate the prescription drug mandate for Commonwealth Care ($10 million)

• Extend the pension liability funding schedule by three years ($300 million)

• Repeal combined reporting requirement for corporate taxes ($50 million)

“All the Democrats seem to want to talk about is taxes, taxes, taxes,” said Senator Tisei.  “We want them to know that there are alternatives available that can save the state money without further burdening the Commonwealth’s taxpayers.”

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