MassFiscal Scorecard Update: Budget Rules

(the scorecard – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)

There’s not a lot left to mention that hasn’t already been said about the debate-stifling rules (H. 3999) adopted by the House of Representatives on Tuesday for debating the FY2015 budget.

Needless to say, MassFiscal is scoring four of the most problematic votes taken during the debate. They are listed below along with brief commentary. As always, we welcome your feedback at info@massfiscal.org.

Allowing amendments dealing with local aid (Roll call #324): The amendment offered by minority leadership (Reps. Jones, Peterson, Hill, Poirier, and deMacedo) sought to remove the restriction on proposing changes to local aid levels. MassFiscal strongly SUPPORTED this amendment. House leadership opposed this effort on the grounds that local aid levels have already been set in prior legislation. It failed 31-115 (D: 2-115 [Reps. Garry and Zlotnik]; R: 29-0)

Allowing amendments dealing with EBT and welfare reform (Roll call #325): The amendment offered by the minority leadership sought to remove the restriction on proposing reforms to EBT and other similar programs. MassFiscal strongly SUPPORTED this amendment. House leadership opposed this effort on the grounds that an EBT reform bill is currently in conference committee.  It failed 31-115 (D: 2-115 [Reps. Garry and Zlotnik]; R: 29-0)

Allowing extra time to propose amendments (Roll call #326): The amendment offered by the minority leadership sought to change the deadline for filing amendments to the budget from April 11th (48 hours after it was released) to April 16th (1 week later). MassFiscal strongly SUPPORTED this amendment. House leadership opposed this effort on the grounds that it would make the budget process messier. It failed 29-116 (D: 0-116; R: 29-0)

Final passage of rules for debating the budget (Roll call #327): This was the final up-or-down vote on passing the resolution outlining the rules for debating the budget. In large part because of the failure the amendments described above, MassFiscal OPPOSED passage of the resolution. It passed 117-29 (D: 117-0; R: 0-29).

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