By Bob Katzen
The House 155-1, approved the House version of a $42.7 billion fiscal 2020 state budget and sent it to the Senate. During four days of budget deliberations the House added close to $72 million in spending.
Supporters said the budget is a fiscally responsible one that makes vital investments in the state while continuing fiscal responsibility and not raising taxes.
Chief budget writer and Ways and Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston) said that the budget was crafted out of members’ shared priorities and funds many important programs including housing, substance abuse and the environment. He noted that this is a budget of which all members can be proud.
“The state budget is a reflection of our values and the lack of a black or Latino member in leadership was apparent in the House budget,” said Rep. Russell Holmes (D-Boston), the lone vote against the budget. “Former Rep. Byron Rushing would not have stood for the New England Center for Arts & Technology and Teen Empowerment not being funded and neither will I.”
Holmes said the House missed the experience of former House Ways and Means chair Brian Dempsey who would have resisted and not have given in to [Speaker] DeLeo’s urges for “retaliation against” him by not fully funding Sportsman’s Tennis Club, No Books No Ball and the Lena Park Community Center. Holmes charged that Speaker DeLeo and Ways and Means chair Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston) crossed a line, and in doing so, hurt his constituents.
“The speaker and Aaron padded their districts with earmarks for Winthrop and the North End on the backs of removing funds that provide services for poor African-Americans and Hispanics,” continued Holmes. “It is a racket and the racketeering is to support lobbyists, unions, fundraisers/donors and former legislators. Helping people has become a simply a byproduct of what occurs in the building.”