Tuesday, May 5, 2015

MassBudget: Analyzing the House Budget for FY 2016

MassBudget  Information.
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center  Democracy.

Analyzing the House Budget for FY 2016

In a quiet three days of debate, the House made few changes to the budget drafted by the House Ways and Means Committee (HWM). Many of the funding increases approved just restored funding that the HWM Committee had proposed cutting. The House voted to increase support beyond the level proposed by the Ways and Means Committee in several areas, including the following:
  • Jobs and workforce training. The Ways and Means Committee had proposed significant cuts to summer jobs programs for young people, job training to help people receiving transitional assistance to enter the workforce, and adult basic education. The House adopted amendments restoring most of this funding, but left in place cuts to other jobs and workforce training programs such as the elimination of Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development Grants.
  • Economic development. The Ways and Means Committee had proposed significant cuts to the Office of Travel and Tourism (which the Governor also proposed cutting) and to the Mass. Cultural Council. The House adopted amendments restoring funding to both.
  • Public health. The Ways and Means Committee had proposed cuts to early intervention programs and to a grant program that aims to reduce youth violence. The House approved amendments restoring the early intervention funding and most, but not all, of the violence prevention funding.
For more detail, please read our full House Budget Monitor HERE

The final House budget makes some targeted investments, including modest increases for early education and care, affordable housing, and opiate abuse prevention and treatment. Like the Governor's budget it does not address most of the long term cuts that have been made over the past 15 years, such as: the 20 percent cut to higher education that has led to increased tuition and fees; the 40 percent cut to local aid; and the 30 percent cut to environment and recreation programs that has led to reduced maintenance, staffing and hours at many state recreation facilities.

The final House Budget also follows the Governor in relying on over $600 million in temporary revenue and savings. Both the long term budget cuts and the ongoing budget gaps our Commonwealth faces have their origins in the over $3 billion of income tax cuts enacted between 1998 and 2002.

This House Budget Monitor describes the amendments adopted in each area of the budget and discusses how proposed funding levels compare to the Governor's proposals and to historic levels. For detail on those sections of the House Budget not amended, see our House Ways and Means Budget Monitor.

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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