Friday, May 30, 2014

MassBudget Conference Preview: Comparing the FY 2015 House and Senate Budgets

MassBudget   Information.
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center  Democracy.

FY 2015 Conference Preview:
Comparing the House and Senate Budgets 

While there are differences in the FY 2015 House and Senate budget proposals, in many respects they are very similar. MassBudget's Conference Preview Budget Monitor details these differences. Both budgets make modest, well targeted, investments in important initiatives:

  • Supporting substance abuse treatment and prevention;   
  • Improving the capacity of the Department of Children and Families to protect vulnerable children and support families;
  • Investing in higher education.  

There are differences in emphasis: the Senate more comprehensively addresses substance abuse issues and the House provides greater funding for higher education. But much is the same: in a budget of about $39.5 billion, the proposals agree on $39.2 billion - more than 99%.
This overlap reflects broad agreement about what we want to achieve together through our government: high quality education for all of our young people; safe, vibrant communities; the transportation infrastructure our economy needs; the security of a safety net for when we fall on hard times; keeping of air and water clean; and doing those other things that we know need to get done that we can do more effectively together than alone.

The House and Senate are also operating in the same context: a weak national economy and the ongoing effects of $3 billion in tax cuts from 15 years ago. Even with the modest funding increases proposed for FY 2015, higher education spending would be roughly 22 percent below where it was in FY 2001 (adjusted for inflation). Local aid would be 45 percent below 2001 levels. Public health would be down 19 percent. And early education and care would be down 24 percent. While the House and Senate budget proposals contain no significant tax reforms, ultimately, it would require additional revenue to make the investments that could support sustainable and broadly shared prosperity.

To read MassBudget's Conference Preview Budget Monitor click 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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