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.
The Governor’s budget proposal for FY 2017 is best described as an austerity budget. It contains small cuts and spending reductions across government and includes few new initiatives. This Budget Monitor analyzes the budget compared to current spending levels and in the context of longer-term trends.
The Governor’s budget proposal will reportedly include the expansion of a corporate tax break called Single Sales Factor apportionment. This factsheet describes how this tax break works, the evidence on whether it is effective, and its cost.
This preview provides an overview of both the specific challenges facing the Commonwealth this year and troubling longer-term trends that state budget writers face in crafting a budget for FY 2017. We see that tax cuts of over $3 billion a year have undermined our capacity to make the investments in our people and communities that could make our economy more productive and our Commonwealth an even better place in which to live, work, and raise a family.
This fact sheet examines the core elements of the “Pacheco Law”- the requirement that privatization efforts lead to savings based on improved efficiency and that they do not drive down the wages of working people – and describes the processes and steps the law requires.
In a quiet three days of debate, the House made few changes to the budget drafted by the House Ways and Means Committee. Many of the funding increases approved just restored funding that the HWM Committee had proposed cutting. This Monitor describes the amendments adopted in each area of the budget and discusses how proposed funding levels compare to the Governor’s proposals and to historic levels.
The HWM budget for FY 2016 recommends targeted investments in some important areas including early education and care, affordable housing, and opiate abuse prevention and treatment. The proposal also includes new cuts to some important programs including workforce training for low income parents and youth jobs and violence prevention efforts. Read this Budget Monitor for more detail.
In releasing his budget proposal on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 the Governor identified important priorities: “creating better communities, better schools, and better jobs for all of Massachusetts.” This budget does not, however, propose the types of significant investments in these areas that could make a meaningful difference in the lives of working people across the state. The Governor did file a tax reform proposal along with the budget that would significantly help lower-wage working people across the state: a doubling of the state earned income tax credit.
Maintenance budgets are estimates of what it would take for the state to maintain services at the same level as prior years. These budgets are also often called current services baselines, as they allow comparison of budget proposals to the baseline of what is currently provided. Maintenance budgets are the first step in our state’s budget process, but they are rarely made public in a standard way.