(The Center Square) – Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey has filed $56.1 billion in budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2025, emphasizing education and infrastructure.
The governor said the budget “responsibly controls spending growth,” while critics dub it “irresponsible.”
“Our Fiscal Year 2025 budget proposal is balanced, responsible and forward-looking,” said Healey. “It protects taxpayer dollars while making crucial investments to lower costs for people and improve quality of life.”
In addition to spending, Healey says the budget will also aid the next phase of the tax cuts her administration enacted last year.
The budget proposal includes a $1.3 billion investment in revenue generated through the Fair Share surtax, which will support “transformative” investments in education and transportation. This includes her administration’s plan to expand access to pre-K education.
The proposed budget also includes $474 million for the Commonwealth Cares for Children grant program, supports universal school meals and continues to fund the MassReconnect program, which provides “no-cost” community college for students 25 and older.
The Fair Share funds will also increase funding for infrastructure projects, including roads and bridges, focusing on aid for rural communities and implementing a low-income fare program for public transit. The governor said it will include a $250 million investment in transportation that will “leverage $1.1 billion in borrowing over the next five years.”
The first-term Democrat said the budget proposals and investments will ultimately make the commonwealth more affordable and improve the quality of life.
“Together, we can make child care more affordable and accessible for families, ensure every student is receiving a high-quality education, and improve our public transportation, roads and bridges,” said Healey. “We thank the Legislature for their consideration of our proposal and look forward to our partnership throughout the budget process.”
Despite the governor’s positive outlook, Republicans say her proposals will indeed lead to more taxes, including ultimately opening the door for municipalities to increase taxes.
“While the governor touted that she will not raise taxes in the commonwealth, she has introduced the Municipal ‘Taxation’ Act that would allow municipalities to increase taxes on dining, hotels, and an additional surcharge on cars,” MassGOP Chairwoman Amy Carnevale said in a release.
Republicans continue to criticize Healey’s handling of the migrant situation. They say the governor is simply looking for a temporary fix to the problem.
“Rather than addressing the migrant crisis through effective resolutions, the Healey administration is attempting a Band-Aid solution to the issue by proposing an additional expenditure of $325 million from next year’s budget,” said Carnevale.
“Additionally, Healey has introduced a supplementary plan aligned with the budget, aiming to allocate approximately $900 million from the state’s surplus account to cover expenses related to the migrant crisis over the next two years,” Carnevale added.
Carnevale describes the budget as “irresponsible” and warns it could ultimately lead to financial disaster.
“If this irresponsible budget moves through the Legislature unchecked, Governor Healey will lead the state to financial disaster,” Carnevale said. “Governor Healey’s budget is depleting resources and perpetuating serious problems rather than offering solutions.”