The Governor’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget proposal provides modest increases in funding for public education, human services, and several other important investments. This new funding does not, in many cases, reverse deep cuts imposed across the state budget after the tax cuts of the late 1990s and early 2000s — despite a decade of expansion in the economy. Lost revenue from tax cuts has limited the Commonwealth’s ability to adequately fund education, infrastructure, and other building blocks of healthy communities and a strong economy.
Anyone who has set foot in a public school, driven on a road, or gone to a public park has been touched by the state budget. What we fund in our state budget reflects what we deem important.
None of these essential services would be possible without the revenue to pay for it. Further, it is important to consider whether the state is raising revenue fairly.
As the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget debates kick off this week, here are five questions to consider.
This preview examines both the challenges revenue gap facing the FY 2018 budget and two budget transparency reforms that could help avoid mid-year budget cuts and other unpleasant budget surprises in the future.
Massachusetts’ taxes rank in the middle of the pack, compared to other states. Where then does the label “Taxachusetts” come from? The answer has much more to do with history than reality.
With the release this week of new American Community Survey (ACS) data from the U.S. Census Bureau, it is clear that working families nationwide and here in Massachusetts made some important gains. While much of this is welcome news, the data also show that poverty rates remain well above pre-recession levels and median incomes remain below pre-recession peaks. Not everyone is sharing fully in the benefits of a growing economy. The ACS data also point the way toward other policy improvements that can lead to broadly shared prosperity.
This Budget Monitor describes the funding decisions in each major section of the state budget for Fiscal Year 2017. It compares proposed funding levels with current and, in some cases, historic funding. It identifies a few bright spots and examines policy changes incorporated in various budget provisions. While vetoes and overrides are noted, the focus is on important budget items and the bigger picture in another difficult year. Earlier versions of the Budget Monitor previewed the budget and tracked its progress at each stage.
The state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) aims to improve the economic security of lower income working families by increasing their after-tax earnings. A growing body of research has found that raising the incomes of lower-income families provides benefits through the life-cycle: improving the health of children and mothers; boosting school performance; and increasing long-term earnings. MassBudget’s updated fact sheet examines a proposal from the Senate Ways and Means Committee to reform and increase the state EITC.