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Where’s the Money?

The Massachusetts political climate always changes, but at the State House, one constant remains – the importance of the annual budget.

As the commonwealth’s leaders prepare the budget for Fiscal Year 2013 – which takes effect on July 1, 2012 – they continue to face challenges due to the still-recovering economy. Even with tax collections outpacing estimates and the rainy day fund up to $1.5 billion, early indications for the FY13 budget point to level-funding for some vital programs; cuts or elimination for other important services; and new initiatives to increase revenue.

Protect Vulnerable Residents

With threats of more cuts to come, AARP urges legislators to protect the state’s most vulnerable residents by maintaining critical programs and services, like:

“Developing the state budget is a big job with huge consequences for all Massachusetts residents,” says Deborah Banda, AARP Massachusetts state director. “This year, billions of dollars are at stake along with the many programs and services – from health care to education to transportation – that the money funds.”

How the State Budget Becomes Law

The state fiscal year in Massachusetts runs from July 1 – June 30th. Each year, the state budget is prepared and approved. In addition, supplemental budgets are prepared during the year to deal with excess revenue or extenuating circumstances that require additional revenue. Following is a basic run-down of the budget process:

  • Department requests (Fall)
  • Administration & Finance recommendations (Winter)
  • Governor’s Budget (mid-January)
  • House Ways and Means Committee recommendations (March/April)
  • House debates and votes on their Final budget recommendations (April)
  • Senate Ways and Means Committee recommendations (May)
  • Senate debates and votes on their Final budget recommendations (May/June)
  • House/Senate Conference Committee established to work out differences in both Final budgets (June)
  • House votes on Conference Committee budget
  • Senate votes on Conference Committee budget
  • Final budget is sent to Governor for approval, amendment or veto (June)
  • Governor issues approvals, amendments or vetoes; he has 10 days to review budget, upon passage by Legislature (by July 1)
  • Final budget in place, without items that were amended or vetoed
  • House considers amendments and/or vetoes (after July and until end of formal sessions)
  • Senate considers items that the House had overridden (after July and until end of formal sessions)
  • If both branches override Governor’s veto, the original language stands
  • Final budget in place

Make Your Voice Heard

Make your voice heard in the state budget debate! Sign up to become an AARP Activist to stay up-to-date on important issues, including the state budget, health care payment reform, prescription drugs, long-term care, Medicare, and Social Security. You can also get more involved in your community; email us for information.

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