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Analyzing What's In The Fiscal Year 2017 MA Budget

Press Release

This year's budget process was unusual. While the conference committee was meeting to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget, it became clear that the original tax revenue estimate for FY 2017 was too optimistic and the estimate was adjusted down by $750 million. Legislators had to improvise a combination of budget cuts and other strategies to address that new gap. While vetoing about a quarter billion dollars in spending from that proposal, the Governor also identified accounts that the administration believed had been underfunded by the Legislature by $172 million. He filed a supplemental budget to fund these accounts.
In other ways this year's budget process follows a familiar pattern of budget problems - barely balancing in good times and cutting deeply in recessions. The Budget Monitor shows that since 2001, inflation-adjusted funding for higher education is down 14 percent; local aid is down 41 percent; early education 22 percent. Why? Between 1998 and 2002 the state adopted several income tax cuts that are now costing over $3 billion annually. That revenue reduction paired with a long-term pattern of rising health care costs has reduced our Commonwealth's capacity to make important investments in our people and our economy, and has caused chronic budget problems.
This Budget Monitor describes the funding decisions in each major section of the budget and 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.

You can read the new Budget Monitor HERE.

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