BOSTON (WWLP) – State lawmakers began the first of a series of state budget hearings on Beacon Hill Monday. 22News explains why they’re giving the Patrick administration a hard time.
Legislative budget leaders are calling the Governor out on past promises and funding priorities, but the Patrick administration says they’re doing their best under current circumstances.
Matthew Beaton, (R) Shrewsbury, told 22News, “Unfortunately we have the most families in the history of Massachusetts living in hotels and motels.”
State lawmakers criticized Governor Deval Patrick’s 2015 state budget proposal for not fulfilling some of the governor’s stated goals, such as eliminating homelessness by 2014. State lawmakers said Patrick’s budget increases funding for short-term shelters, but cuts long term solutions like rental assistance programs.
State lawmakers further questioned why funding wasn’t increased for cities and towns and why property taxes weren’t reduced as Patrick has promised in previous campaigns.
Administration and Finance Secretary Glen Shor said education funding, pension reform and municipal health reform have decreased costs for cities and towns overall.
According to Sec. Shor, “We believe that the full breadth of measures we have provided to municipalities; gives them tools, important tools to manage finances.”
When asked why the state wasn’t spending $100 million it’s authorized to borrow for transportation projects, Secretary Shor said the state couldn’t afford it anymore. He fired back that the Governor proposed raising one billion in revenue last year for road and bridge repairs, but the state Legislature approved only half that sum.
A total of seven state budget hearings will be held in the coming weeks, the Massachusetts House will release their budget proposal in April.