Saturday, December 12, 2020

CommonWealth Magazine: Baker signs FY 21 budget, refuses to sign abortion provision

 From CommonWealth Magazine we share two articles of interest for Franklin:

Baker signs FY21 budget, vetoes $156m 

"GOV. CHARLIE BAKER signed the delayed fiscal 2021 budget on Friday, vetoing $156 million in spending.

Lawmakers had postponed passing a budget for the year that began July 1 to take time to monitor the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. That left state government operating on a series of temporary budgets for the first five months of the fiscal year.

The final budget that Baker signed is $45.9 billion, representing growth of 4.5 percent over fiscal 2020.  Much of the additional spending is driven by rising MassHealth costs, with more people becoming eligible for MassHealth and a federal rule that prohibits the state from cutting anyone from MassHealth during the pandemic.

With tax collections coming in higher than expected so far this year, the administration revised upwards by $459 million the amount the state expects to collect in taxes, to $28.44 billion. That is still a $1.2 billion anticipated drop in taxes compared to fiscal 2020."

Continue reading the article online

Baker refuses to sign abortion provision
"GOV. CHARLIE BAKER rejected a provision in the Legislature’s budget bill lowering the age of parental consent for an abortion from 18 to 16 and tweaked other language narrowing when late-term abortions would be allowed.

Baker regards himself as a strong supporter of a woman’s access to reproductive health care, but the amendment he filed to the budget bill prompted a sharp retort from groups seeking to expand access to abortion at a time when the makeup of the US Supreme Court, which guaranteed access to abortion with its Roe v Wade decision in 1973,  has changed substantially.

A coalition of abortion rights groups, which calls itself the ROE Act Coalition and includes NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts and Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts, said in a statement that they are “deeply disappointed by Governor Baker’s failure to recognize the urgent need to improve access to care.”

“His amendment pushes abortion care out of reach for many, especially for people with low-incomes and communities of color,” the coalition said, urging lawmakers to reject Baker’s amendment. “The governor cannot have it both ways: He cannot call himself pro-choice and keep anti-choice restrictions in place.”
Continue reading the article online

and the Boston Globe has an article on the same topics (the abortion provision was included in the budget legislation)

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