In three days of debate, the Massachusetts House of Representatives took up the budget proposal offered by the Ways & Means Committee, passed a series of amendments, and finalized its own proposal for next year.
Most of the amendments adopted by the House amount to relatively small, targeted funding increases, and the sections below include examples from across the budget. One area with more significant changes is Law & Public Safety, and particularly the courts, where new amendments would reduce the cuts that had been in the Ways & Means budget. Similarly, Youth Empowerment programs—which help young people find jobs and escape from cycles of violence—would see a partial restoration of the dramatic cuts proposed by the Ways & Means budget.
Broadly speaking, the House budget still largely follows the contours of the Ways & Means proposal. That includes increased funding to make higher education more affordable, to fix and improve our transportation system and to provide aid to cities and towns.
At the same time, both budgets contain a number of meaningful cuts, including to Early Education & Care programs, which help prepare children for success in school and life. These various cuts come on top of billions of dollars of cuts & savings that have been enacted in recent years—partly as a result of the Great Recession but also because of the income tax cuts of 1998-2002 that continue to cost the state $3 billion each year.
Our new brief, “House Budget for FY 2014: Amendments Adopted During Debate”, describes the most significant changes between the Ways & Means budget proposal and the final House version.