Saturday, November 14, 2020

CommonWealth Magazine: FY 2021 budget moves in Senate and House this past week

From CommonWealth Magazine we share articles of interest for Franklin on the state budget:

"House budget addresses COVID-related education dilemmas"

"The coronavirus pandemic created – and exposed – multiple problems with the state’s education system, from preschool through high school. Now, lawmakers appear poised to use the must-pass vehicle of the annual state budget to begin figuring out how to address some of these issues.

A large consolidated amendment passed at the end of Tuesday’s budget debate, after midnight, includes several education-related study commissions, funds, and data tracking requirements.

On the childcare side, Massachusetts’ childcare system is primarily private-pay and expensive, with some subsidies available for low-income children – a system that has long raised concerns about the lack of affordable, quality childcare for many families. Forced closures due to COVID-19 and expensive reopening requirements put many providers in financial peril.

The House budget includes several investments in early education, including a new $10 million fund to help lower income parents pay for childcare on a sliding scale."

Continue reading the article online

"Senate spending plan hews close to House version"

THE SENATE WAYS and Means Committee on Thursday released its own nearly $46 billion budget proposal for fiscal 2021, a 5.5 percent spending increase over the current year, which is in many ways similar to the budget proposal currently being debated in the House.

The House’s initial proposal was slightly higher – $46.021 billion – and amendments are still being added on the House floor.

Like the House budget, the Senate budget includes no new broad-based taxes and relies on a significant draw from the state’s rainy day fund. There are no major cuts to services. Both the House and Senate budgets adopt proposals made by Gov. Charlie Baker to require large businesses to remit sales tax collections more quickly – though not to require daily remittances of sales taxes – and to delay implementation of a state charitable deduction.

“There’s definitely more similarities than differences in our budgets,” said Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues, a Westport Democrat.

 Continue reading the article online

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