Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance made the following statement today in response to Speaker Bob DeLeo’s $46 billion-dollar state budget, which calls for a half billion dollar increase in spending over Governor Baker’s mid-October budget proposal.
Governor Baker’s revised budget called for more spending than his pre-COVID budget released in January. Both budgets draw funds from the “rainy-day” fund to balance their increased spending.
“Massachusetts taxpayers would be more supportive of seeing their savings being spent if it included at least some belt tightening by State House leaders,” stated Paul Diego Craney, spokesman of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.
Unlike Governor Baker’s budget, Speaker DeLeo once again deliberated in secret and only released his budget proposal after the votes from Tuesday’s election had all been cast. Despite calls from good government watchdogs, the Massachusetts legislature continues to be one of the few states to exempt itself from public information requests and open meeting laws. In years past, Speaker DeLeo has rushed through the budget process, often giving members mere hours to read over the entire state budget before they are expected to vote on it.
“At every opportunity, Speaker DeLeo has pursued policies and maneuvers that diminishes debate, dissent, accountability, and transparency. He will be remembered as one of the most opaque and secretive State House leaders in Massachusetts history,” continued Craney.
“Massachusetts taxpayers haven’t seen legislative action in a lame duck session since 1988, and State House leaders should be warned that they can lose public confidence rather quickly if they think this is their opportunity to advance their far-reaching policies when the voters are least likely to hold them accountable,” continued Craney.
“State House leaders need to keep in mind, whatever budget they agree to and whatever policies they pass during this lame duck session, Massachusetts businesses will feel significant economic hardship when new state regulations go into effect in January. Despite the continued fallout from the pandemic the state’s minimum wage will increase, health care costs are expected to increase, and the new Paid Family Leave law will all hurt our economic recovery and drain more funds from businesses,” concluded Craney.