Thursday, December 7, 2017

MassBudget: Explaining the State Budget for FY 2018 Including Veto Overrides

 Massachusetts Budget and Policy CenterDemocracy.

Explaining the State Budget for FY 2018 Including Veto Overrides

In the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center's latest Budget Monitor, "The State Budget for FY 2018 Including Veto Overrides," we see the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY 2018) budget season ending much the way it started: with our state facing difficult fiscal conditions and unable to make the kinds of long-term investments that could significantly improve the quality of life in Massachusetts and expand opportunity in all communities.

At this point in the process -- after the Legislature enacted the budget, the Governor made a number of line item vetoes, and the Legislature overrode virtually all those vetoes and approved some supplemental funding -- we have a state budget that makes some modest investments, particularly in education, child welfare, and in addressing substance use disorders.

The budget, however, continues to rely significantly on temporary fixes: counting 13 months of sales tax revenue in the 12 months of FY 2018; underfunding a number of accounts that will eventually need to be funded -- such as paying for snow and ice removal; and a number of similar strategies. Altogether the budget includes about $750 million in temporary revenue and underfunded accounts. This makes it highly likely that the state will continue to face serious fiscal challenges next year.

A bright spot, however, is tax revenue growth so far this year has been stronger than projected. If that trend continues, it would reduce the need to rely on temporary fixes this year and would put the state in better fiscal condition next year. In the long term, however, there is a significant danger that the federal government will -- to pay for the costs of federal tax cuts -- impose deep cuts in Medicaid, education, and other services currently funded together by the state and federal governments.

This Budget Monitor includes the final funding levels of FY 2017, the current FY 2018 budget, and significant policy changes in each area of the budget. Current 2018 budget levels are also compared to 2001 budget where relevant. For more comprehensive data on historic spending levels for each line item and category of the budget, see MassBudget's Budget Browser. For additional detail on programs in the state budget that affect children see our Children's BudgetClick here to read the full Budget Monitor, "The State Budget for FY 2018 Including Veto Overrides," or click below on individual sections:

Child WelfareDisability ServicesEarly EducationEconomic Development
Elder ServicesEnvironment and RecreationHigher EducationHousing
Juvenile JusticeK-12 EducationLaw and Public SafetyLibraries
Local AidMassHealth and Health ReformMental HealthOther Human Services
PensionsPublic HealthRevenue (tax and non-tax)State Employee Health Insurance
Transitional AssistanceTransportationAdditional Line Item OverridesSummary Chart

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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MassBudget: Explaining the State Budget for FY 2018 Including Veto Overrides
screen grab of MassBudget webpage

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