Massachusetts Lawmakers Prepare to Vote on New State Budget

The Massachusetts Statehouse

The Massachusetts Statehouse

MA still doesn't have a state budget for fiscal year 2018 or the rewrite of marijuana laws that lawmakers pledged to get to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk by the end of June.

In his original statement DeLeo said he is confident lawmakers can send the budget to Governor Charlie Baker by the end of this week.

"A key reason for our consistently high bond ratings has been our commitment to balanced, on time spending plans".

MA government has continued to function thanks to an interim budget.

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DeLeo said the House was not responsible for trying to link the two issues, but his call for the suspension of negotiations over marijuana to focus on the budget suggested at least the threat of overlap between the two ongoing conference committees with the Senate. "Tying unrelated negotiations together for political leverage does a disservice to the residents of the Commonwealth".

"The mischief makers are once again at work".

State government has continued to operate despite the lack of a new budget because of a temporary stopgap budget meant to avoid a shutdown as negotiations continue between House and Senate conferees charged with coming up with a final spending plan for the 2018 fiscal year.

The compromise budget is subject to an up-or-down vote in both chambers. Meanwhile, both pieces of legislation have been handled behind closed doors, with only the word of legislative aids to provide the public with progress reports.

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Leaders of the six-member conference committee charged with hammering out the compromise offered few details about the final bill.

The Senate passed a bill that keeps the current law with a number of proposed changes.

"This is the harshest state budget since the last recession", bemoaned Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg, who saw Senate proposals shot down that would have taxed short-term rentals such as Airbnb and tapped the horse racing fund for millions to balance needs elsewhere. "It's clear the state is facing a shortfall in revenue that will have an impact on real people's lives and there are cuts throughout this budget", she said.

According to the latest estimates from Baker's administration, the revenue shortfall for fiscal 2017, which ended on Friday, is around $430 million.

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She also blamed a section of the national media for "spreading rumour and telecasting distorted, fabricated videos". Nasim Akhtar, the police inspector in-charge of Basirhat , has been transferred by the administration.

And while New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is getting dragged over hot coals for his decision to lounge on a state beach during the Garden State's own budget crisis-caused government shutdown, MA has been able to avoid a similar fate thanks to a temporary stopgap budget. The agency said the state's reserves peaked at fiscal year 2012 levels, declined through 2014, and stagnated.

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