BOSTON (WWLP) – Lawmakers hope to restore spending in areas cut by the governor by overriding some of his vetoes on programs that help western Massachusetts’ most vulnerable residents.
Governor Charlie Baker signed a $39.4 billion budget into law this week, and with it came more than $300 million in vetoes.
The budget cuts and spending reductions hit several western Massachusetts programs, including Reach Out and Read and Safe and Successful Youth Initiative.
The governor cut more than $600,000 from the Emergency Food Assistance Program that provides funding for four regional food banks, including one in western Massachusetts.
Director of Programs Christina Maxwell of The Food Bank of western Massachusetts told 22News the money from the state is critical in providing nutritious basic food for some of the state’s residents in-need.
“A lot of families just aren’t able to make ends meet and just don’t have enough money to put adequate food on the table so they need to rely on food pantries and on meal sites,” Maxwell said.
Although the governor made budget cuts, lawmakers can restore some of the funding.They can override the governor’s vetoes with a two-thirds vote in each chamber.
“Taking money away from Baystate, taking money away from programs like MEFAP that actually feed people is not the way to balance the budget,” State Rep. Aaron Vega, (D-Holyoke) told 22News.
Last year, lawmakers restored $100 million to the state budget.
Although the legislature can override the governor’s vetoes, they proceed with caution. Later in the year, the governor could resort to executive cuts to balance the budget.