House votes to override round of Governor Baker’s FY18 line-item vetoes

Both chambers have to approve of the overrides before they can restore spending in areas cut by the Governor

BOSTON (WWLP)—Lawmakers are acting on their plans to override Governor Charlie Baker’s line item vetoes from this year’s state budget. The House is starting by taking up statewide programs and services.

House lawmakers resumed formal sessions after August recess Wednesday by voting to override dozens of Governor Charlie Baker’s line item vetoes. They took votes on vetoes accounting for more than $250 million in an effort to restore the conference committee budget in areas including pediatric palliative care and MassHealth.

“A lot of it will depend on the financial picture of that the state ended it’s fiscal year in and also the financial picture as we continue to move forward,” State Senator Jim Welch (D-West Springfield) said.

Governor Baker signs $39.4 billion state budget

Governor Charlie Baker signed a nearly $40 billion state budget into law for fiscal 2018 in July that came with $320 million of spending cuts from the conference committee budget to account for a revenue shortfall.

Although many lawmakers want to restore funding to programs their communities rely on, lawmakers tread carefully with the possibility of executive cuts from the Governor in the future.

“I think it’s really a slippery slope and it can get tricky because we may restore the funds now and an organization may say, ‘great, we’re going to get this money’ and then three to four months down the road they get 9C cut by the governor and now we’re into January and they can’t recoup those funds; they may have to cut staff,” State Rep. Aaron Vega (D-Holyoke) said.

Both chambers have to approve of the overrides before they can restore spending in areas cut by the Governor. In the coming weeks, the House plans to consider regional items, according to the Chairman of the state’s Budget Committee.