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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Duct Tape Budget

The Duct Tape Budget
From MASSterlist By Jay Fitzgerald and Keith Regan

As expected, the House and Senate approved a new $40.2 billion state budget last Friday that’s balanced by some tough budget cuts, questionable revenue assumptions, a new employer assessment tax to pay for health-care and healthy amounts of Duck Tape and baling wire. But it’s actually sturdier than it looks, according to a Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation analysis of the budget. As for the highlights of the budget, here goes:

-- It includes the new $200 million “assessment” fee (read: tax) on employers to help pay for health-care, but it doesn’t include any of Gov. Baker’s proposed Medicaid spending reforms, reports Priyanka Dayal McCluskey at the Globe. Lawmakers says they simply didn’t have time to review the Medicaid proposals and hope to revisit them soon.

-- The budget doesn’t include a new tax on short-term rental companies like Airbnb. For that matter, it includes no major tax increases, outside the health-care employer assessment, reports Matt Stout at the Herald.

-- Surprisingly, the budget doesn’t include draining the state’s $13 million Horse Racing Development Fund, Stout also reports.

-- Lawmakers were forced to mark down available revenues by $733 million, forcing deeper budget cuts and prompting calls from some quarters for new taxes, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton at

-- Senate President Stan Rosenberg is calling the fiscal blueprint “the harshest state budget since the last recession,” Norton also reports.

-- Private court-appointed lawyers for the poor are going to have to suck it up again this year, reports the Globe.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Does anyone else find the fact that the entire UGGA appropriation is based on gambling.

    Unrestricted General Government Aid
    The Legislature’s budget provides $1.061 billion for UGGA, a $39.9 million increase over current funding – the same increase proposed by Gov. Baker and approved by the House and Senate in the spring. Almost all of UGGA funding comes from $985 million in expected Lottery proceeds and $65 million from the Plainridge gaming facility.

    Adjusted for present inflation this gamble comes in at about a 1.9% increase in real funding.