As the Commonwealth heads into its 11th day without a state budget, the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance took lawmakers to task for their irresponsibility and noted that, when legislation is important to them personally, they always manage to pass it in an expeditious manner.
“Legislative leaders rammed through massive pay raises for themselves last session. Despite the major controversies surrounding that vote, it was a quick and efficient process—like pulling off a band-aid,” noted Paul D. Craney, Spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance. “Many lawmakers are now earning six-digit salaries, plus commuting stipends, healthcare and other benefits, as well as pensions that will last decades. We have one of the most well-paid “full time” state legislatures in the country. If they can’t pass a state budget on time, what exactly are we getting for all that money?”
Massachusetts and Ohio are the only states with July 1 fiscal year starts where lawmakers have still not finalized their budgets, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers.
“In the past year alone, legislative leadership pushed through polarizing ballot amendments to the state constitution that would allow for an 80% tax increase for certain brackets. They passed new taxes on our tourism industry, through AirBnB, just days before Christmas and without a recorded roll call vote,” continued Craney.
“Yet, for the ninth year in a row, leadership at the Statehouse has failed to produce a budget on time, nor do they show that they even care. And it’s starting to have a very real, very negative effect as creditors and bond agencies begin to take notice.”
“Speaker DeLeo and Senate President Spilka are examples of a living fire alarm, a warning to the rest of the country, as to what not to do. Despite their iron-fisted control over supermajorities in both chambers, they are somehow even more dysfunctional than DC, and that’s hard to imagine. It’s a reminder to Massachusetts taxpayers that leadership at the Statehouse needs to change,” concluded Craney.