State revenue surge raises options for Patrick

With tax collections running more than half a billion dollars above benchmarks through April, Governor Deval Patrick may reverse some of the $225 million in emergency budget cuts he made in ­December.

“Yes, we’re looking at that now,” Patrick told State House News Service Friday as he left his office for an event in Waltham with his dog Tobey after a Cabinet meeting.

House Republicans and five House Democrats wrote to the governor Thursday asking him to reverse $24.4 million in cuts made to programs that provide assistance to local cities and towns for special education, school transportation, and other expenses.


“We’re going to or have looked at those, as well, just trying to sort out what works and what’s practical,” Patrick said.

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April tax collections surged 14.3 percent over fiscal 2012, leaving the state $510 million above budget benchmarks with two months remaining in the fiscal year.

Patrick’s budget chief, ­Administration and Finance Secretary Glen Shor, told State House News Service earlier this week that “spending pressures” are still affecting this year’s budget, suggesting that unanticipated spending needs may exceed those already formally requested by the administration.

Shor called revenue performance strong over the past four months, but cautioned that it has been “largely due to one-time or volatile revenue sources, and not those most closely tied to current, underlying economic trends.”

Earlier this week, a group of House Republicans urged Democrats negotiating a $500 million tax increase bill to abandon that proposal in light of recent revenue collections. That is unlikely since the House and Senate have ­approved the tax hikes, which are being counted on in part to prevent near-term increases in MBTA fares.


Treasurer Steven Grossman told State House News Service this week that efforts to boost the state’s rainy day fund balance should be given serious consideration if a significant surplus emerges after the books are closed on fiscal 2013.