Tuesday, July 19, 2022

CommonWealth Magazine: "State budget is a lot more than just a spending plan"

"In theory, the budget is the vehicle used to fund state government. In practice, the state budget is frequently used as a catch-all policy vehicle, a way to use a bill that is guaranteed to pass to further policies that for whatever reason have not passed as standalone legislation. This year is no different, with policies included in the fiscal 2023 budget that range from extending universal free school meals to all students regardless of income to requiring sheriffs and corrections officials to provide free calls to incarcerated people. Lawmakers sent the bill to Baker on Monday. 

Some of the provisions have a clear nexus to state spending. But other “outside sections,” as the policies are called, have little connection to the budget itself.  

For example, advocates for certain segments of the Asian community have had a long-running disagreement over what types of demographic information should be collected when a form asks about ethnicity. The concern is that the label Asian-American is overly broad and does not distinguish between distinct ethnic groups.  

An outside section of the budget states that any government agency that collects demographic race and ethnicity data must have separate tabulations for a huge number of subpopulations, including Asian groups (like Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, etc.), Pacific Islander groups (Native Hawaiian, Guamanian, Samoan, etc.), Black groups (African American, Jamaican, Haitian, etc.), Latino groups (Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban), and Whites (German, Irish, English, and so on)."
Continue reading the article online 

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