In The People's Blog

Last week, the Joint Committee on Ways and Means kicked off hearings on Governor Healey’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget proposal. (Just as a reminder: The budget process begins with a consensus revenue hearing in December, where economists tell the Governor and the Legislature how much tax revenue they anticipate we will have to spend in the upcoming fiscal year.) 

The Governor filed her FY25 budget proposal on January 24. My team and I have been digging in ever since, looking to see how the Governor funded key line items and priorities. This year we were particularly pleased that the Governor proposed creating a state disaster relief trust fund as part of her budget, an idea which Rep. Natalie Blais and I filed as a bill.

The next step in the budget process is a series of hearings held by the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, to unpack all of the various sections of the budget. The first of these hearings happened on Wednesday, February 7 at the State House, where we heard from Governor Maura Healey, Secretary of Administration and Finance Matthew Gorzkowicz, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, Auditor Diana DiZoglio, Inspector General Jeffrey Shapiro, and Secretary of Technology Services and Security Jason Snyder.

Governor Healey and Administration and Finance Secretary Matthew Gorzkowicz testify in Gardner Auditorium before the Joint Ways and Means Committee. Typically, the House and Senate Ways and Means Committees operate separately, but we come together as a Joint Ways and Means Committee to review the annual budget. I am in the top row, third from left.

You can see a video of the full hearing here

Over the coming weeks, the Joint Ways and Means Committee will hold additional hearings on the FY25 budget, covering the topics of Energy and Environment, Education and Local Aid, Health and Human Services (this requires two hearings), Public Safety and the Judiciary, Economic Development, Housing and Labor. At each of these hearings, members of the Healey-Driscoll Administration will testify about what their agencies are working on and the funding they need to do that work. We will also hear from advocates, local officials and constituents. 

These hearings also offer legislators the opportunity to ask questions about their priorities. On Wednesday, I asked the Governor about the investments in this budget focused on rural municipalities, and whether we could create programs specific to rural municipalities, similar to the programs that exist specific to Gateway Cities. The Governor is taking an important step in this direction by proposing a Rural Designation in her economic development plan.

I held up this image from the Governor’s Budget Briefs at the hearing when I asked about creating programs targeted to supporting rural communities. The Governor’s Economic Development plan creates a Rural Designation, which is an important step in that direction.

Stay tuned for much more information about the FY25 budget hearings, including one that I will chair at Greenfield Community College on March 1, which will focus on education funding and local aid to municipalities.

Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search