By Bob Katzen
The House 143-6, Senate 36-1, approved and sent to Gov. Charlie Baker the conference committee compromise version of a $41.88 billion fiscal 2019 state budget. Baker has ten days to sign the budget and to veto sections of it. It would then take a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate to override any vetoes. The conference committee version was hammered out after the House and Senate each approved different budgets. The final version is nearly $400 million more than what either branch approved.
“This budget demonstrates a commitment to our constituents and is a testament to the fiscal strength of our commonwealth,” said Senate President Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester). “With this funding, we are supporting our children’s education, the transit systems in our cities and towns, and underserved youth and families across Massachusetts.”
“I voted against the conference committee budget for fiscal year 2019 because it did not contain even rudimentary protections from overzealous law enforcement for immigrants in Massachusetts,” said Rep. Denise Provost (D-Somerville). “Massachusetts should not be abetting or participating in enforcement of these policies. It violates our heritage as the state which, in 1855, passed a law which prohibited state officers from assisting in the removal from the commonwealth of escaped slaves seeking refuge here.”
“This is a fiscally sound budget that addresses key House priorities,” said House Speaker Bob DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “I am particularly proud of our investments in early education and care, the stabilization fund deposit, our work to bolster this year’s landmark criminal justice bill and our decision to lift the cap on welfare benefits.”
Other opponents said the budget does not make sufficient cuts, state spending has grown too much over the past few years and billions of dollars of taxpayer money is going to government services for illegal immigrants.