Massachusetts Senate Unveils $32.3 Billion Budget
The Massachusetts Senate unveiled its response to a House plan for the state's next budget Wednesday. The $32.3 billion spending plan put forward by the Senate Ways and Means Committee would not raise any state taxes but would draw $290 million from the state's so-called "rainy day" fund. The budget also calls for some spending cuts and the use of one-time revenues to close a projected $1.4 billion budget gap. Senator Stephen Brewer, a Democrat from Barre and Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee says that after four years of economic hardship, the committee has once again had to make cuts to many important state programs.
"At the same time, the combination of our state's continued economic recovery, as well as the responsible choices we have made in recent years, allow this budget to restore some of the painful cuts of recent years and make a few targeted investments."
Brewer also says that the senate's budget tries to root out wasteful spending, fraud, and abuse of government programs.
"This budget retains the senate's strong commitment to program integrity and program evaluation. The recent recession has shown us the vital importance of insuring that state programs are run efficiently and that they are effective."
The Senate proposal would create a special state police unit to investigate welfare fraud. It would also keep partially open a Taunton psychiatric hospital pegged for closure by Governor Deval Patrick and the House. The senate must reconcile its budget with the house's version before sending a finalized budget to Patrick.