Gov. Baker orders state government hiring freeze

Baker holds first cabinet meeting

BOSTON (WWLP/AP) – Republican Charlie Baker promised voters he won’t raise taxes, but he’ll have to convince the Democratic majority.

Before promising no new taxes, leaders in both the Massachusetts House and Senate want a better picture of the state’s budget gap, which could be upwards of 750-million dollars.

After chairing his first cabinet meeting Friday, Governor Charlie Baker told reporters he’ll spend the first thirty days in office toward a solution. “The more we do to solve the fiscal 2015 budget problem right now, the more positively that affects putting together the fiscal 2016 budget,” said Gov. Baker.

Although he’s pledged not to raise taxes or cut local aid, he’ll have to work with the Democratic legislature to make good on those promises. Pretty soon, Baker will have to craft the state budget for the fiscal year that begins in July.

West Springfield Democrat Michael Finn told 22News bringing in more money for his district is a main focus. “Out in the western part of the state we have a different set of challenges than they do out here so making sure we have all the resources we need is number one.”

Gov. Baker comes with budget experience; he served as the top finance chief under the Weld and Cellucci administrations.

To reduce spending, Baker issued a hiring freeze within state government. The hiring freeze requires agencies to withdraw current job postings and prohibits hiring of new contract workers. The administration says it expects the freeze to save $6.5 million in the current year.

He also ordered cabinet secretaries to begin program-by-program reviews of all state agencies, and review all recent contract amendments and ongoing procurements, and look for ways to cut costs.

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