The State Senate’s budget debate begins this week as lawmakers take on a $41 billion budget for the fiscal year 2019.
State Senator Eric Lesser said this is a very busy time of year as the Senate goes through each amendment and debates their inclusion in the bill. He said, “it’s a big budget, a lot of details, a lot of numbers and a lot of late nights” over the next several days.
Specific to western Massachusetts, Lesser said, they will be looking at funding special education and the cost of healthcare.
“We’re also going to be doing a lot of transportation,” Lesser said. “I intend to make a big stink, yet again, about east-west rail between Springfield and Boston, an absolutely urgent issue for our communities. I can think of no other issue, no other project, long-term that would help western Mass. more than connecting to Boston with high-speed rail service.”
With former State Senate President Stanley Rosenberg out of office, Lesser said there’s a big hole. But when there’s a regional issue on the table, western Mass senators work together as a team to try to get the job done.
The Senate debate will wrap up by the end of the week, and will likely have its version of the budget completed by Monday, May 28.