Get Back to Work and Pass a State Budget! [OPINION]
Exhausted after a three-day work week, state lawmakers have recessed for the weekend without passing a budget for the fiscal year that began 13 days ago. By taking the weekend off, it would be Tuesday at the earliest before a new budget can be in place.
The inability once again of state legislators to have a budget in place on time is unacceptable. It's what we pay them for. It's their primary responsibility.
House Speaker Robert DeLeo says he is "disappointed" that a budget deal has not been reached. House Minority Leader Brad Jones says the situation is "unbelievable." I agree.
So why the weekend off?
Can you imagine if you missed the big deadline at your private sector job 13 days ago, worked three days this week and then took the weekend off without completing your project?
Yeah, me too.
The primary function of the Massachusetts Legislature is to debate and enact a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 each year.
Municipalities from Pittsfield to Boston are in limbo while final numbers for state aid and other appropriations are ironed out in conference committee. Programs that provide services for everything from the disabled to the elderly are also left hanging while lawmakers hang out at the beach this weekend.
One of the key hangups in this year's negotiations is a Senate-passed provision that all but declares Massachusetts a sanctuary state. Why is that even a part of the budget process?
Massachusetts is the only state that does not have a budget in place.
What say our state reps and senators climb out of the pool and drag their sorry keisters back up Beacon Hill and not come down until the people's business is completed?
Get back to work!
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.