Orrall: Revenue Shortfall Makes Crafting Budget ‘Very Problematic’
The Massachusetts Senate begins debate Tuesday on a proposed $40.3 billion budget for fiscal year 2018, and one state lawmaker thinks it's going to be lot harder than expected to maintain that type of a budget going forward if changes aren't made.
Last month, the House passed a $40.3 billion budget, just a bit lower than Governor Charlie Baker's proposed $40.5 billion budget. The Senate version calls for $409 million in new tax revenues through means such as levying a five percent room tax on short-term room rentals through services such as AirBNB.
But State Representative Keiko Orrall (R-Lakeville) told WBSM's Barry Richard the problem isn't just bringing in more revenue, but also curbing spending.
"We're looking at a $450 million shortfall this fiscal year, and revenue numbers are not as strong for the next fiscal year," Orrall said. "We're working from a budget where we projected more revenue growth than what appears to be coming in, and that's exceedingly problematic, very problematic."
"I think we have determined we need to reign in spending, and have to make our choices as to what the state is supposed to be providing," she said.
Orrall said the state needs "to make changes in the way we're doing business."
"I know that hard-working families don't have one more dollar to give to the state, so we have to do a better job of managing and figuring out what programs and where we can make changes and efficiencies," Orrall said. "Where are you going to cut? Which programs are deemed 'unnecessary?' Because inevitably, it will affect the population that people want to protect."
Orrall said she hears plenty of stories of families helped by various government programs, and that's what makes cutting funding so challenging.
"Year after year, we hear stories about people helped by various government programs," she said. "And that's where the challenge comes, knowing where we're getting the best bang for our buck."