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.
The House and Senate Budgets reflect similar values: expanding access to education, helping working families to make ends meet (with an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit), and helping families to find housing. Both budgets are also constrained by limited revenue and are not able to make progress in a number of important areas including making higher education more affordable and significantly improving our transportation systems. The list below highlights several of the substantial differences between the House and Senate budgets, and the rest of this Monitor provides more detail on differences that the Legislature’s budget Conference Committee will have to reconcile.