Post by Libby Lucia
Over the next week, legislative leaders on Beacon Hill will be putting the finishing touches on the state budget. The clock is ticking to finalize the negotiations and send it to the Governor for his review and signature before the start of the next fiscal year that begins on July 1st.
As these negotiations continue, the one thing we know for sure is that the final budget will not contain any tax relief for businesses and taxpayers since none of the budget versions filed by the Governor, House or Senate included tax cuts. Bay State leaders want us to believe that tax cuts are not possible given that the state is dealing with a $2 billion structural gap in the budget. A gap that they claim is due to the loss of Federal stimulus funds. Never mind that they had four years and more than $7 billion in Federal and state rainy day money to plan for this day instead of pushing the problem off year after year.
I for one get very irritated when I hear the people in charge of spending our money say that they have cut spending to the bare bones. It is true that programs have seen some across the board cuts (higher education, local aid, senior prescription advantage to name a few) but there has been no thought behind these cuts.
Instead of changing the way the programs are administered to create savings, across the board cuts have become the norm and they have been particularly slow to address meaningful reforms. For example, the state recently announced a new approach to fund homelessness programs as the number of families living in motels across the state hit a record high of more than 1,500 this past month.
This is great news but what in God’s name took so long? This has been a problem for four years costing you and me more than $50 million to house families in motels. There has been no sense of urgency to make changes to this program and many more as they spend our money… READ THE REST of Libby’s inaugural post at CriticalMASS