Lawmakers hope to restore funding to western Massachusetts programs

$3 million to Baystate Medical Center was cut from the budget

BOSTON (WWLP)–Governor Charlie Baker (R-Massachusetts) cut spending for several western Massachusetts programs from this year’s. But lawmakers have the power to get back a portion of that money by overriding some of the Governor’s line item vetoes.

The state is currently running on a nearly $40 billion budget for this fiscal year. The spending plan increases local aid to cities and towns and raises funding for public elementary and secondary schools.

“Despite slower than anticipated revenue growth, we are still able to fund increases to important state services for our schools, our cities and towns and our citizens without drawing down on the stabilization fund or raising taxes,” said Baker.

But with a revenue shortfall came budget cuts. Baker vetoed more than $300 million from the budget. Programs that help western Massachusetts residents, including Reach Out and Read and Safe and Successful Youth Initiative, had state funding cut from their services.

Revenue collections for the start of the fiscal year came in slightly above benchmark. State Representative Michael Finn, (D-West Springfield) said if the trend continues, then the legislature could override some of the Governor’s vetoes.

Finn told 22News he hopes to restore funding to Baystate Medical Center.

“I’m very interested in ensuring that the things that the western Mass.delegation fought for be restored. becuase of the economic importance to the greater western mass. area.”

$3 million to Baystate Medical was cut from the budget. The funding would have been used for a UMass medical school program to train more doctors.

The legislature is currently on summer recess, but will likely resume full formal sessions next month.