State budget awaits Governor Baker’s approval

The state is currently running on a temporary 5 billion dollar budget

BOSTON (WWLP) – Governor Charlie Baker has yet to give final approval for the fiscal 2018 budget, but he only has a few more days left to review and sign this year’s spending plan.

The state is currently running on a temporary $5 billion budget to avoid a government shutdown.

Struggling with a revenue shortfall, The House and Senate were a week late sending a $40.2 billion compromise budget to the governor’s desk.

“We still have a major increase in support for local schools, a major increase in support for cities and towns,” said Governor Baker, (R) Massachusetts.

Local aid to cities and towns is expected to be just over $1 billion, a $40 million increase. The budget also includes a $36 million increase to the Department of Children and Families, which protects children from abuse and neglect.

With slow revenue growth, the budget conference committee reduced spending by $400 million, cutting spending in several areas including health care. The budget cuts MassHealth spending by $150 million.

Lawmakers hope to save $83 million in potential revenue by not rolling back the state income tax to 5 percent. Voters passed the income tax reduction at the ballot back in 2000.

“We’re not going to be able to factor in that reduction into place, it’s not in the state budget that we passed but I think it’s still a worthy goal if for no other reason then to keep the promise,” said State Senator Don Humason, (R) Westfield, who supports bringing the tax level down to 5 percent.

Several proposals that didn’t make the budget still have a chance to make it through the legislature in stand alone bills.

Governor Baker must sign the budget before Tuesday. He has the right to veto specific line items if he thinks it’s appropriate.