BOSTON (WWLP) – Governor Baker told reporters on Monday that he planned to sign the supplemental budget on Tuesday, but it’s looking like he needs more time to review the spending bill. The state legislature fast-tracked a $187 million budget bill to Governor Baker’s desk last Thursday.
Governor Charlie Baker told 22News that the state started with a $1.7 billion deficit when he took office and they have been shrinking it down to about $250 million. Governor Baker said it’s a matter of the state not living beyond it’s means. “Cities and towns have already made all kinds of decisions about their fiscal year and their fiscal spending,” he explained, “and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is not going to go back to the cities and towns to balance it’s budget.”
The funding will be spent closing out government accounts for fiscal year 2016, which ended back on June 30th. MassHealth is the most expensive item in the proposal. The program helps connect the state’s most vulnerable residents with health insurance coverage.
State budget writers are also dealing with an estimated $111 million spending gap. Eileen McAnneny, President of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, told 22News that the proposal also includes $91 million to help close that budget deficit. “We’ve seen revenues coming in below projections,” she said, “and what they’ve done to close out fiscal year ’16 does have impacts on the currently fiscal year.”
Governor Baker said they will be issuing a tax forecast later this week and will make adjustments from there. Governor Baker has the authority to make changes to the spending bill before signing it into law. He has until Monday to take action.