Sunday, October 19, 2008

EVENT: Monday, Oct. 20, Fiscal Hearing--October Revenues

FISCAL HEARING - OCTOBER REVENUES, Monday, 10 am, Gardner Auditorium

The Patrick administration gets three days after the 15th of each month to release its mid-month tax revenue report and the administration is taking its full allotment this month, which means Monday will likely bring more news of underperforming revenues. Members of the House and Senate Ways and Means committees have called in Leslie Kirwan, the state administration and finance secretary, Revenue Commissioner Navjeet Bal and other economic observers to try to get a handle on the devolving fiscal and economic picture facing the state and its residents. Kirwan and Bal will likely face questions regarding the cuts made by Gov. Patrick and the methodology the administration used to derive its new tax revenue estimate, which has been lowered by $1.1 billion. Patrick says that in the budget-cutting exercise, he tried to preserve “key targeted investments” in education, clean energy, health care reform and infrastructure. Committee members will then hear from a group of familiar faces and students of the local economy. They include Barry Bluestone of Northeastern University, Alan Clayton-Matthews of UMass, Yolanda Kodrzycki of the Federal Reserve Bank, Michael Widmer of the Mass. Taxpayers Foundation and David Tuerck of the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University. For the most part, Beacon Hill leaders, in full retreat on spending, have taken a no-one-predicted-it-would-be-this-bad attitude towards the economic downturn and portrayed their spending proposals as victims of larger forces outside their control. But veteran legislators who experienced the highs and lows of capital gains tax collection swings appear to have failed to learn from the past or heed the rollercoaster-like trend line that cap gains collections have taken over the years.

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