Friday, June 19, 2009

GOP leaders’ statement on Fiscal Year 2010 state budget

BOSTON – Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei and House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. issued the following statement today regarding the enactment of the Fiscal Year 2010 state budget by the Legislature:

As everyone knows, the state has been on a major spending spree for the past three years. It’s unfortunate that it took a global economic crisis to finally force us to put the brakes on spending. However, even with the bare bones budget that emerged from Conference Committee today, we’re still nowhere close to being out of the woods and can expect that our fiscal difficulties will continue for the foreseeable future.

This budget is balanced on a hope and a prayer. In addition to cuts in many vital programs and services, the budget relies on a massive infusion of federal stimulus money, a substantial withdrawal from the Rainy Day Fund, and more than $1 billion in new taxes and fees. Essentially, we are relying on a series of one-time revenues and an increased burden on the state’s taxpayers to balance the budget in the midst of one of the worst recessions ever. This virtually guarantees we will be carrying a huge structural deficit forward and that will make it even more difficult to balance the budget next year.

What’s really disappointing is that the few reform measures the House and Senate included in their budgets were either watered down or omitted entirely from the final budget. Two days ago, we had pension reform. Yesterday, we had transportation reform. Next week, we’ll be doing ethics reform. But when it comes to the budget, we seem to have gone from “reform before revenues” to “revenues without reforms”.

When all is said and done, we haven’t really solved our budget problems. Instead, we’ve just pushed off many of the tough decisions for another day.