Massachusetts lawmakers begin budget debates

Hampden County

BOSTON (WWLP) – State lawmakers began to debate items in the budget on Monday. 

Governor Charlie Baker filed his budget proposal back in January and now lawmakers are getting the chance to debate areas that they feel deserve more or less funding.

This session, hundreds of lawmakers have made education spending a top budget priority. The governor included a $1.1 billion education plan in his budget proposal, but legislators gave that figure a C+. 

The House Ways and Means Committee recommended increasing the governor’s proposal by upwards $300,000.

This money would support low income and special needs students, as well as regional transportation.  

Speaker of the House, Robert DeLeo, has been taking a more reserved approach to spending this session. Even though he has come out in favor of updating the education funding formula he hasn’t talked much about imposing new taxes.  

Many of the state’s Democratic lawmakers want to increase taxes to bring more money into the state budget which can be spent on a variety of things like healthcare, SNAP benefits, and housing reimbursement programs. 

Massachusetts lawmakers will consider more than 1,300 amendments proposed by the House Ways and Means budget committee before coming to a general consensus and sending their final version to the Senate for further consideration.

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