Saturday, July 13, 2013

MassBudget: What the Governor vetoed from the FY14 budget--and what he proposes

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The Governor's Vetoes
Today (7/12/13), the Governor signed into law a budget for FY 2014. He also exercised his authority to veto individual line items within the budget. In this case, there were essentially two types of vetoes: 1) for programs that the Governor would support, but which he feels cannot be funded until a separate transportation revenue bill is passed into law, and 2) for programs that the Governor would not fund at the level specified by the Legislature.

The budget proposal that the legislature passed relied on new revenue from a separate transportation funding bill. That bill, however, was not signed by the Governor. He sent it back to the legislature with an amendment designed to compensate for a funding shortfall that would occur if certain Mass Pike tolls are taken down in 2017. Because he sent it back, however, the revenue specified in that bill is not available to help fund the state budget. The vetoes to transportation and local aid line-items listed in Table 1 would help lower state spending enough to offset this missing revenue. These same line-items would be restored under the Governor's supplemental budget bill, described below (if you cannot see the table below, be sure your email client is set to display images or click here.)

The Governor also vetoed a number of line-items--totaling $18.3 million--whose funding would not be restored in his supplemental budget bill. A full list is available here.

Along with the vetoes he issued today, the Governor filed a supplemental budget bill, which would restore funding for the items in table 1 above, namely those programs that the Governor felt he had to veto because of the unfinished transportation bill. These restorations would only occur when a new transportation funding bill is passed which resolves the potential medium-term funding shortfall.

Also included in the supplemental bill are some funding increases for particular programs. The money to support these increases comes in part from the Governor's other vetoes--those funding reductions which would not be restored with the transportation funding bill (see here)--and also from an expansion of the 5 cents refundable deposit on bottled beverages to cover non-carbonated drinks (if you cannot see the list of new programs below, be sure your email client is set to display images or click here.)

A state budget can include not only funding appropriations but also changes to state law, in what are called "outside sections." The Governor did veto and amend some outside sections (details are included here.)

The vetoes and amendments described above represent just the last step of the FY 2014 budget process. The rest of the details about the state's spending blueprint for the coming year can be found in our BUDGET MONITOR.

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