Thursday, January 26, 2017

MassBudget: Tools to understand the MA state budget proposals

MassBudget  Information.
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center  Democracy.

Tools for Understanding State Budget Proposals 

Tomorrow the Governor will kick off state budget season by releasing a detailed Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget proposal. The Governor's proposal begins an important process of determining what we as a Commonwealth hope to do together through our government, and detailing how we will pay for those things. Key subsequent steps in the process:
  • In April, the House will debate and approve its FY 2018 budget proposal.
  • In May, the Senate does the same.
  • In June, a joint House/Senate conference committee reconciles differences between these two budgets.
  • The final budget plan, which requires the Governor's signature, will ideally be completed by July 1st, the beginning of FY 2018.
Since the state budget is often the most important policy document of the year, our team at MassBudget works hard to produce the following resources to helping you stay informed and engaged in the public debate. We hope you find them useful!

Budget Monitors
Shortly after each major budget release, we produce a written Budget Monitor that analyzes major proposals across a range of key areas (e.g. education, transportation, health care, revenue). As soon as they're written, we send Monitors out to our email list and post them on our website. Here is our 
FY 2018 Budget Preview, which lays out major fiscal challenges entering the upcoming fiscal year. And here is a link to our Budget Resources page which includes our Monitors from previous fiscal years.

Budget Browser 
Our Budget Browser, which we will update shortly after release of the Governor's FY 2018 spending proposals, is a user-friendly online tool where you can track all state spending back to FY 2001. You can drill down to individual programs (called line items) or look at clusters of programs that support similar activities (e.g. Child Welfare). You can adjust for inflation so that comparisons over time make sense, and you can generate your own tables and graphs.

Each line item of the Browser has a "Proposals" tab, where you can compare each of the FY 2018 proposals as they are released.
Please go here to learn more about the Budget Browser.

Children's Budget and Jobs and Workforce Budget
These two web tools are similar to the Budget Browser in that they track state funding for programs in these areas--state programs related to children and state programs that support jobs and workforce training. But they go an important step further by also including written program descriptions and links to other useful resources for more detail. These tools are also updated during the budget season.

We also have resources on our website that look specifically at Massachusetts taxes. Among these resources, we recently published a paper that looks at special interest tax breaks which cost the state $1 billion in 2017, and another that looks at the economic effects of tax reforms that would generate revenue to invest in education and transportation.     
Finally, do not hesitate to reach out directly to any of our analysts, who are the true experts behind each of these great resources. You'll find contact information and their respective research areas on our website's staff page.

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.

BOSTON, MA 02108

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