Tuesday, April 19, 2016

MassBudget: What's in the House Ways and Means budget?

MassBudget  Information.
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center  Democracy.

Analyzing the House Ways and Means Budget Proposal

Last week the House Ways and Means Committee proposed a budget for the next fiscal year. This budget proposal, examined in our new Budget Monitor, is similar overall to the Governor's proposal and the pattern of recent years. It is largely an austerity budget that reduces spending in some accounts, keeps most essentially at current levels, and contains only very modest new initiatives.

Among the major ways this proposal differs from the Governor's is that it recommends more funding for local public schools. It both directly increases Chapter 70 funding (state aid to local school districts) by more than the Governor proposed and funds a reserve to provide additional funding for districts on the short end of changes in the way the state counts low-income students (explained briefly in the Budget Monitor and in more detail here and here).

Like the Governor's budget, this proposal relies on temporary revenues to pay for ongoing costs, though less than in recent years. Both proposals fail to deposit into the rainy day fund the full amount of capital gains tax revenue called for by existing law. This far into an economic recovery the state should not need to rely on temporary solutions to balance the budget and should be fully implementing policies to be prepared for the next downturn.

This Budget Monitor provides highlights of the House Ways and Means recommendations in specific areas across the budget. It also offers comparisons to the Governor's proposals and to historic spending levels.

As the budget process continues, watch for our Budget Monitors explaining how the full House changes the proposal, the Senate versions, and each step to the end.

Read the current Budget Monitor here.
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.

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