Massachusetts FY2020 Budget Update
With the 2019-2020 legislative session in full swing, the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate have both been primarily consumed with developing the FY2020 state budget. The House finalized its budget in late April, and the Senate finished its budget process in late May. Both bodies have appointed a Conference Committee to work out differences between the two versions of the budget, with a final state budget due to be in place for the start of the fiscal year on July 1, 2019. These Conferees have been meeting for the last few weeks with good progress reported by all involved.
Some key differences between the two budgets remain, including K-12 education funding and a Senate-proposed tuition and fee freeze at the University of Massachusetts. Other items of discussion include prescription drug pricing reform as well as new taxes on opioid drugs and vaping manufacturers.
New Ways and Means Chairs Rep. Aaron Michlewitz and Sen. Michael Rodrigues have a strong history of collaboration, having worked together on the issue of regulating Short-Term Rental properties last session. This collegial respect has been evident throughout the process, even while the Conference Committee has been tackling tough issues.
One bright spot is the possibility of a state budget surplus for the second year in a row. Given these factors, signs point to a strong start to the next fiscal year.
Legislative committees are all also proceeding with the business of bill hearings. This process will continue until the Legislature breaks for the summer recess on July 31, 2019 and recommence after Labor Day when the Legislature comes back into session.
We expect that the bulk of work on non-budgetary legislative matters will take place this fall and next spring 2020.