By Bob Katzen
The House 159-0, Senate 39-1, approved and sent to Governor Charlie Baker the conference committee compromise version of a $43.1 billion fiscal 2020 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 package raises spending by $1.6 billion, or 4 percent over fiscal 2019.
“The strategic investments that are made in this budget reflect the shared priorities of the Legislature,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chair Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston). “By incorporating the input from our colleagues, this document has been made stronger. I am proud that key services in the areas of education, housing, homelessness and the environment will see significant funding increases in this budget.”
“This consensus fiscal year 2020 budget strikes a balance between maintaining fiscal responsibility and making targeted investments that benefit our commonwealth’s economic well-being,” said Senate Ways and Means Chair Mike Rodrigues (D-Westport).
“I was the sole vote against the acceptance of the conference committee report because I was concerned the report’s language on offshore wind procurement left key terms undefined,” said Sen. Mark Pacheco (D-Taunton). “I brought my concerns to the Senate floor and I hope the administration was listening. The conference committee report also did not contain language for the reauthorization of simulcasting, which will end at the close of business on July 31st. Despite my concerns about the conference committee report, however, I was proud to vote along with my colleagues unanimously in favor of enacting the budget because the citizens of Massachusetts depend on the resources it provides for public education, local aid, and countless other vital functions and services.”