Millions of dollars approved by state lawmakers to close spending gaps

Photo Courtesy: MGNonline

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)– Massachusetts lawmakers have agreed to a bill that’s looking to close some spending gaps.

The $363 million budget compromise bill was signed by legislators late Tuesday.

The bill approves $190 million to cover a deficit in the state’s Group Insurance Commission.

Another $50 million is included to go towards state snow removal costs left over from a record-setting series of winter storms.

Of that total, $51 million dollars of that money will go towards assistance programs serving homeless shelters that were in danger of running out of money.

Joe Finn, executive director of the Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance, said in a statement that the need for the supplemental funding “highlights the critical juncture we have reached in addressing homelessness.”

By signing the bill lawmakers also approved a change to the casino gaming regulations allowing slot machine players to win up to $1,200 dollars before they stop playing to fill out tax forms.

That is $600 more than what the regulations said previously and $600 more than when state lottery winners have to pay taxes.

While this change was in its proposal stages, Massachusetts’ lottery reps released this statement which read in-part, “The Lottery strongly believes there needs to be a level playing field for all gaming entities in the Commonwealth and that the Lottery’s network of 7,400 retailer partners must be protected against unfair competition from casinos.”

The bill will only go into effect once it is signed by Governor Charlie Baker.

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