State Budget Wrongly Hikes Spending During COVID Crisis [OPINION]
The Massachusetts Legislature is set to vote on a bloated budget deal agreed to behind closed doors by a handful of conferees on Thursday night. The $46.2 billion budget for the fiscal year that began on July 1 is some $4 billion more than what was sought by the Baker Administration.
Lawmakers, anxious to get home for the holidays, will likely pass the agreement with little if any debate.
The State House News Service reports the budget deal "increases state spending by over five percent from last year, despite accounting for about $2 billion less in tax revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic." The SHNS states that the budget looks to fill the gap by "relying heavily on one-time federal coronavirus relief funding, the state's reserve account, and a plan to accelerate the remittance of sales taxes from businesses to the state, netting a one-year boost of $267 million."
How do you justify a five percent increase in spending when your income is reduced by $2 billion? Would you do this with your personal or business budget? These hacks think nothing of doing it with your money.
Wouldn't it make sense to reduce spending rather than rely on one-time funding sources? Plugging the budget with one-time funding is a recipe for disaster. But don't worry, lawmakers will move to raise your taxes in January to generate more revenue.
Too bad the Senate rejected an amendment that would have allowed for sports betting. That could have raised tens of millions of dollars in new monies for the state. Sorry, that would have made too much sense.
The budget also contains an amendment to expand abortion rights in Massachusetts. Governor Charlie Baker has yet to say whether he will veto the amendment or allow it to become law. Baker also faces a police reform bill that is very unpopular with police unions and other public safety employees.
All eyes will be on Baker in the coming days to see what he has to say about the proposed budget agreement and whether he is strong enough to stand up to the pro-abortion lobby and those who would dismantle the police. Something tells me he will fold like a tent, as he usually does.
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.