We enter the third week of the new fiscal year with no state budget and no immediate hope that one is close at hand. This is getting to be a habit with these hacks on Beacon Hill.

The primary function of a state rep and a state senator is to approve a spending plan by July 1 each year. Period. That's job one. Everything else, including making laws, is secondary.

So why is it that the Massachusetts Legislature is once again well into the new fiscal year without a budget? It is ridiculous.

It's not as if the budget deadline can sneak up on them. It's on the calendar. The deadline is the same each year, smack dab between spring recess and summer recess. Yet the deadline comes and the deadline goes. There never seems to be enough time to get the budget done on time. Why not?

The Massachusetts Legislature needs to get its work done and on time. Budget delays cost taxpayers money. Do your job!

They glide through pay raise debates with the speed of lightning. No delays there. They are expected to enact a massive tax hike on real estate transactions by the end of the month in order to fund global warming grants, or they will just plain raise the bonding ceiling and borrow the money. There will be little delay in getting that done; after all, vacation is awaiting.

I propose that lawmakers do not get paid each and every day beyond the start of the new fiscal year that a budget in place. That might help to assure a budget is in place on time in the future.

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 barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.