In making its budget proposal on Tuesday, the Senate Ways and MeansCommittee identified a long term goal: "investments to build resilient children, families, and communities." That theme can be seen clearly in many of the budget recommendations, but the lack of revenue with which to make such investments means that the actual progress towards those goals in this budget is very modest.
MassBudget's new Budget Monitor examines the Senate Ways and Means recommendations in specific areas across the budget. We provide comparisons to proposals from the Governor and the House and the context of historic spending levels. Among the highlights:
Increased funding for Chapter 70 state aid for local schools and for public higher education. The SWM committee recommends significantly more than the Governor and House proposed in those areas, but it also introduces a new cut: reducing kindergarten grants by almost 90 percent.
Several reforms to improve the coordination and delivery of services in several areas, including a shared application "portal" for MassHealth, child care support, and SNAP benefits, which could simplify the application process for families and streamline the administrative process for the state.
The proposal largely follows the Governor's and House's proposals by relying on temporary revenue and savings to balance the budget, though less than in recent years. It is troubling that this far into an economic recovery the state continues to balance the budget with temporary solutions and remains unable to deposit into the stabilization fund the full amount called for by existing law.
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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