The plan: 61 Votes totaling $275 Million in overrides.
House Ways and Means Chair Jeffrey Sanchez (D – Boston) plans on leading his colleagues in the House in overriding $275M out of $320M of the Governor’s vetoes through the FY2018 budget process. Yesterday, the House met to start the override process and according to Speaker DeLeo (D - Winthrop), this process will take weeks.
Rep. Sanchez outlined his plan before the chamber as being a positive approach to budgeting and fiscal responsibility. Let’s break down the numbers.
In July, the legislature passed the FY2018 budget, totaling $40B. Just before the bill passed, the Boston Herald reported that the state ended the fiscal year with $400M in budget deficits. Governor Baker made $320M in cuts in over 160 budget vetoes, warning the legislature that not only was the spending plan irresponsible, but the conference committee who created the budget in secret already underfunded some accounts by a total of $198M.
As of today, tax collections are up about $60M this year over the same period last year. However, the benchmarks by which Rep. Sanchez and the leadership made their budget projections are still down by $11M. This is because they projected a 2.9% growth rate in tax collections whereas the past 2 years, tax collections have seen no more than 1.4% growth. The House continues to over budget based on wildly ambitious projections, grounded in nothing but hope.
House Republican Minority Leader, Brad Jones (R – North Reading) strongly recommended that the House wait until October to have a more substantive conversation about the budget. His recommendation was turned down as quickly as it was brought up.
The House plans on meeting again to continue to restore money we don’t have to the budget. The Senate, still on recess since Senate President Stan Rosenberg is traveling out of country, will return at the end of the month. We will be updating our scorecard with the new votes as the House and Senate meet to vote on the overrides.
That’s the unique new program lawmakers should understand when they want to buy stuff they cannot afford. The Governor vetoed their 40 percent pay raise in January and their $40B budget in July. Yet, these lawmakers are now considering restoring 169 Gubernatorial line item vetoes to the FY2018 budget, totaling over $320M.
The legislature hit a new low when, after working on a budget in secret, released it one Friday morning with the intention of voting on $40B in just one day. They then decided to wait until September to see the influx of tax revenues before taking up Governor Baker's vetoes.
In the first two months of the current fiscal year, we are down $11M from the benchmark, though revenue is up from the same time last year. It’s safe to say, now isn’t the time for increasing spending.
Tomorrow, the House will take up the Governor’s vetoes. This is where we need your help.
As the House mulls over the overrides, we can stand up and ask our lawmakers to support the governor’s fiscally responsible budget vetoes. We cannot continue to function as a Commonwealth while lawmakers play fast and loose with our tax dollars. Complete our Call to Action to contact your lawmakers. We just cannot afford a $40B budget or a 40% pay raise. Get started here.
Many residents may have noticed a flyer in their door regarding state Representative Natalie Higgins, (D-Leominster). The flier focuses on Rep. Higgins’ support of a bill she co-sponsored with Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) to make Massachusetts a sanctuary state. It’s a gift to the farthest of the far left.
Shortly after Higgins co-sponsored Eldridge’s legislation, the Massachusetts Democratic Party put into their party platform support for making Massachusetts a sanctuary state. Higgins’ and Eldridge’s bill actually prohibits local and state law enforcement from applying Federal immigration laws in the state. As you know, some cities and towns in Massachusetts have already implemented sanctuary city statutes, but many have rejected them. Recently, Greenfield said "NO!" and rejected efforts to become a sanctuary city.
But choice isn't something Higgins supports. She's proposing the state overrule local decision making in towns like Greenfield.
According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, illegal immigration costs Massachusetts taxpayers $1.8 billion each year. If Higgins’ bill passes and ties the hands of law enforcement, that number will soar.
Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance is informing the residents of Rep. Higgins’ district to let them know that she's leading the charge to make Massachusetts a sanctuary state. If controlling illegal immigration matters to you, contact Representative Higgins and urge her to drop her support for the sanctuary state legislation. Her office phone number is 617-722-2060.