Pioneer’s Public Statement on the Conference Committee Budget
LEGISLATURE’S FY 2014 BUDGET IS THE STATUS QUO, JUST MORE OF IT:
YES TO NEW SPENDING, NO TO REFORM
Public Statement on the Conference Committee Budget
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Massachusetts’s 2014 Status Quo Budget
The legislature produced a budget for FY 2014 as it began last week.
The budget does not address persistent structural deficits.
In a year during which baseline revenues have grown because of a slowly recovering economy, we have set ourselves on a course to raise taxes and, remarkably, also to withdraw hundreds of millions of dollars from the rainy-day fund.
The budget blueprint is projected to increase spending by more than 5 percent in FY 2014. With tax revenue rising just under 4 percent, we are setting ourselves up to increase an already over $1 billion structural deficit. The cash shortfall is to be covered by about $400 million from the rainy-day fund and increased departmental revenues.
Alarmingly, most of the new tax receipts coming from the transportation bill passed earlier flow into general operating revenues and are not set aside as dedicated transportation funds.
As the budget continues funding state programs on a status quo plus basis, municipalities and schools see at best a marginal increase in appropriations (mainly for unrestricted local aid).
This budget has precious little reform, but continues to feed the beast of the status quo.