Governor Baker reviewing $40.2 billion state budget

Baker has 10 days to look over the budget

BOSTON (WWLP) – Massachusetts is more than a week into fiscal 2018, but a final budget has yet to be implemented. The state’s $40.2 billion budget for fiscal 2018 is currently in the hands of Governor Charlie Baker after a week of delays.

Lawmakers increased funding in some areas, but with a current revenue shortfall, several spending proposals didn’t make the cut.

The House and Senate passed the $40.2 billion budget, but it still has a few more steps before it goes into effect.

The state is running on a $5 billion temporary budget until the spending plan is fully approved.

The budget on the governor’s desk increases local aid to cities and towns by $40 million and raises finding for local public schools by nearly $120 million.

“We have still prioritized and managed to put money in the places that we think are the biggest priority but we’ve also had to make some tough decisions as well,” said Todd Smola, (R) Warren, who was on the conference committee that compromised the House and Senate spending plans.

The committee made about $400 million in spending reductions, including about $150 million in spending cuts to MassHealth.

With the more than $40 billion budget, lawmakers are searching for new revenue sources in 2018. Lawmakers may have to adjust the budget’s bottom line to account for the current revenue shortfall.

“This is obviously one of the things we’re going to spend some time talking to the experts about over the course of the next couple of days because we need to make a decision on it,” Governor Charlie Baker, (R) Massachusetts, told 22News.

The state is more than $400 million below expectations in tax collections. One potential source for new revenue didn’t make the budget: a tax on short-term rentals, like Airbnb, estimated to bring $18 million in revenue to the state.

Governor Baker has 10 days to review the budget passed by the legislature, but he can veto parts of the spending plan.