Statement on Speaker Mariano’s FY2025 Budget Bust Out

The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance commented on Speaker Ron Mariano’s proposed FY2025 budget, his fourth as Speaker, which has a whopping price tag of $57.9 billion. 

This time last year, Mariano announced his FY2024 budget at $56.2 billion dollars. As MassFiscal warned last April, this level of reckless spending will eventually result in “tax hikes down the road,” and State House leaders have made good on that prediction through several plans proposed throughout the year.

This year, while the state revenues have come in consistently below predictions, the Speaker’s budget proposal increased by 3.3% over last year’s plan. For comparison’s sake, during Mariano’s first year as Speaker in 2021, his proposed FY2022 budget was $47.6 billion dollars.  In only four short years, Mariano has proposed an increase to state spending of over 21.5%. In contrast to Mariano’s proposal, Governor Healey proposed even more spending with her January proposal weighing in at $58.15 billion.

Despite the surtax on high income earners having a negative impact on the state’s economic competitiveness, a record-breaking streak of poor tax collections, and the surge of migrants coming to Massachusetts to abuse the state’s Right to Shelter law, lawmakers forged ahead with a budget full of increased state spending and the creation of new state programs. Only in the Massachusetts legislature does this type of math add up.  

Even though State House leaders just made community college “free,” the Speaker’s budget would create a new $40 million-dollar MBTA Academy that would require new administrative oversight, indefinitely indebting the taxpayers for generations to come. Even though Governor Maura Healey announced last week her administration needs to implement a hiring freeze, the Speaker’s budget would create an entirely new agency to hire new state workers.

The Speaker’s gravy train for the MBTA didn’t stop with the new academy. He would authorize

$314 million operating transfer to the T in fiscal 2025, up from $187 million in the fiscal 2024 spending plan Gov. Healey signed last summer. That represents a 68% increase under the Speaker’s spending plan!

Despite Speaker Mariano’s reckless spending at the T, his source of funding is even more off the rails. The Speaker would use $187 million in General Fund money on the T and another $367 million from revenues generated by the new surtax on high earners. The surtax on high income earners could be very volatile in the years ahead as more and more high-income earners and businesses move out of state or domicile in New Hampshire and Florida. The result will be less revenue from the surtax, but the spending at the T will remain high. Even the MBTA is projecting the agency will face a gap of about $650 million in fiscal 2026, a gap which is expected to increase in subsequent years. Mariano’s reliance on such an unstable revenue source will further put the T at an economic risk.

“Speaker Ron Mariano’s budget is remarkable in one aspect; he seems to be one of the few people in Massachusetts not aware we have a revenue problem. Only in the Massachusetts legislature can this type of math add up. An income surtax driving businesses and wealth out of state, a 20 year record breaking streak of declining tax collections, and a state right to shelter program that is being abused on a global scale and is causing our state to hemorrhage billions of dollars. All these budget busters didn’t deter the Speaker from creating new state spending programs and increases to state spending,” noted Paul D. Craney, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.  

“All you need is basic commonsense that will tell you the Speaker’s budget is reckless. Long after he is gone from the Massachusetts legislature, taxpayers will be obligated to pay for his irresponsible spending proposed in this state budget,” noted Craney.

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