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Account is an entity by which the Massachusetts Management Accounting and Reporting System (MMARS) records the status of expenditure authorizations and revenue estimates. Also known as Line-Item or Appropriation. See account type to learn more about the six main account types.
Accounts payable
Payments owed for goods or services received before the close of a fiscal year. Funds should be encumbered by June 30, and paid before August 31, when unspent encumbrances lapse. Under certain conditions, Administration and Finance may approve an extension until September 15.
Accrual basis of accounting
Revenues and expenditures are recognized and recorded in the period that they occur, rather than when cash is collected or disbursed. Also see Statutory basis of accounting.
A law passed by the Legislature. The legislative session runs by calendar year and Acts are numbered consecutively in each session. So the first law passed in January is called Chapter 1 of the Acts of 20__; the next law is Chapter 2 of the Acts of 20__, etc. Unless an Act is of limited scope or duration, it is usually written as an amendment to the General Laws. Appropriation acts take effect immediately upon approval by the Governor. All other acts take effect 90 days after the Governor's approval, except for acts which have an emergency preamble, which take effect immediately.
Administration priorities
Significant areas of public concern upon which the Administration has focused attention and increased funding in order to ensure that meaningful steps are taken to improve the well-being of the Commonwealth and its citizens.
See Department.
The process of making money that has been appropriated by the Legislature available for expenditure. Although obligations can be incurred without money being allotted, money must be allotted before money can be paid out. A fraction of the money in budgetary accounts is automatically allotted periodically: between 1/12 for one month and 1/3 for four months. If an account needs to spend at a greater rate than the periodic allotment, the agency submits an allotment request. Retained revenue receipts, federal grants, and trust funds are automatically fully allotted. Capital accounts are administered through a different process.
American reinvestment and recovery act
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, abbreviated ARRA or Federal Stimulus, is an economic stimulus package enacted by Congress in February 2009. The Act includes federal tax cuts, expansion of unemployment benefits and other social welfare provisions, and domestic spending in education, health care, and infrastructure, including the energy sector. The measures are nominally worth $787 billion.
Annual deduction allowed for the gradual exhaustion or obsolescence of intangible assets having a limited useful life which are used in the production of income, such as patents and copyrights; analogous to depreciation of tangible assets.
Positive annualization is the additional incremental cost in the next fiscal year of new programs, program expansions, or other efforts which are started sometime during the current fiscal year. Negative annualization is the incremental cost reduction in the next fiscal year resulting from savings efforts and other spending reductions begun sometime during the current fiscal year. Annualization is not the same as annualized cost/saving.
Annualized cost/saving
The full twelve-month cost or saving of an item. This is not the same as annualization.
A specified sum of money authorized by the legislature for a specific period of time to which expenditures may be made to accomplish a specific purpose identified in the legislation language authorizing the appropriation. An account number, also called line item, identifies each appropriation. See Line Item.
Appropriations tracking
The process of monitoring or tracking the progress of a budget bill through the legislative process.
See American Reinvestment and Recovery Act
A statutorily mandated form of reimbursement or up-front payment for state expenditures. Assessments are often mandated to charge private sector businesses for state services that are of particular benefit to them.
See Appropriations Tracking.


See Balance Sheet, Statutory Balance, Structural Balance.
Balance sheet
A document produced by Administration and Finance, which summarizes revenue and spending by category and fund, and displays the resulting condition. Balance sheets are produced for prior years based on actual receipts and expenditures, and for current and future years based on projections.
Block grant
A consolidated grant of federal funds awarded to a state agency that may be used at its discretion for a specific issue.
A financial instrument that is sold by the government for cash. A bond contains a written promise to pay a specified amount of money on a specified date or dates in the future, together with a periodic interest at a specified rate.
Bond cap
The annual limit on bond-funded spending that will be permitted by the Governor in support of the capital program. The "Bond Cap" is set annually based on the Debt Affordability Policy, and published in the Commonwealth's Five-Year Capital Investment Plan.
Bond fund
A fund of the Commonwealth into which bond proceeds are deposited and from which spending may occur.
Bond revenues
The proceeds of bond issued by the Commonwealth and the interest earned thereon.
Budgetary accounts
Budgetary Accounts also called Budgetary Appropriations include Direct appropriation and retained revenue accounts.
Budgetary appropriations
Funding for these "line-items" come from the following sources: state tax receipts, revenue generate by fees, and federal reimbursements for certain programs. Budgetary Appropriations represent one of the four funding sources. At the Program budget level, appropriations are recommended by the Administration for enactment by the Legislature each fiscal year through the GAA.
Budgetary non-tax revenue
In order to fund its programs and services, the Commonwealth receives revenues from non-tax sources, including the federal government and various fees, fines, court revenues, assessments, reimbursements, interest earnings and transfers from its non-budgeted funds, which are deposited in the General Fund, the Transportation Fund (formerly the Highway Fund) and other operating budgeted funds.
Budgetary recommendation
In the Budget, the level of expenditure recommended by the Administration for a line item.
Budgeted funds
The funds that contribute to the Commonwealth's statutory balance, currently the General Fund, Commonwealth Transportation Fund, and Massachusetts Tourism Fund. All other funds are considered non-budgeted funds.


Capital account
Entity in MMARS which records the status of a spending authorization to be funded from the sale of bonds. Capital authorizations are usually for facility and infrastructure construction and maintenance or large equipment purchases, and are generally authorized for 5 years.
Capital expenditure
An expenditure made in acquiring, adding to or bettering a fixed asset. For accounting purposes, capital expenditures are not charged against current revenue. They are added to capital account or "capitalized" and then may be depreciated, amortized, or recovered when a business is sold. This concept should be distinguished from an expense.
Capital projects funds
Capital project funds are for acquisition, long-term construction, and development activities legislatively authorized, but largely funded through bonds and federal receipts.
Chapter 29
The General Laws chapter that relates to state finance.
Charge back
A cost item for which payment is made by one state agency to another, for example, paying for central computer services. See Intragovernmental Service Fund Account.
Cherry sheet
A list, prepared annually by the Department of Revenue, of certain local aid distributions. It used to be published on cherry-colored paper, hence the name.
A reference to a specific statute or regulation.
See Commonwealth Information Warehouse.
The Clerks of the House and Senate are the official recorders of all proceedings in the respective chambers. The Clerks publish the journals, calendars, and other documents, and print copies of all bills filed.
Commonwealth Information Warehouse
Commonwealth Information Warehouse (CIW) brings together enterprise financial (MMARS), budget and payroll (HR/CMS) data that are maintained in separate source applications run by independent agencies. CIW provides access to information through a centralized, integrated repository that supports timely, well-informed business decisions.
The officer responsible for keeping the state's "books" and making rules to ensure that all the state's financial transactions are performed according to statute and regulation, and according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). The Comptroller manages the state accounting system, which is called MMARS.
The result produced on the balance sheet when revenues are compared to spending. A positive condition indicates that revenues exceed spending.
Conference committee
A group consisting of members from the House and members from the Senate, appointed to work out a compromise version of a bill, when the House-passed and Senate-passed versions of the bill differ.
Consolidated net surplus in the budgetary funds
The sum of undesignated balances in the budgetary funds, except funds established by section 2H and section 2I of Chapter 29, by section 2C of chapter 131 and section 35NN of chapter 10.
Amount by which a taxpayer is allowed to reduce a tax liability, as computed by applying the tax rates to the tax base, to be distinguished from a deduction from the tax base.
Current services budget
Synonymous with maintenance budget.
Current year budget
The Current Year Budget represents the General Appropriations Act (GAA) enacted by the Legislature in June for the coming fiscal year, as amended by the Governor’s vetoes and any Legislative overrides of these vetoes. This is the approved spending level at the beginning of a fiscal year for each line item account. These amounts are loaded into the Massachusetts Management Accounting System (MMARS). Amounts may include Prior Appropriations Continued (PACs) authorized by the Legislature in the GAA which permit departments to use unexpended funds from the prior fiscal year in the current fiscal year. Departments estimate the funding level for each program based on these amounts. Capital plan items are added to the Current Year Budget to provide an "all funds" view of dollars projected to be spent on each program.


The principal borrowed by the Commonwealth, usually to support capital projects, which are assets with a useful life over a number of years.
Amount that taxpayers are allowed to subtract from their gross tax base.
A shortfall in an existing appropriation, or an additional amount needed to accomplish a new or expanded purpose. It used to be that the former was always referred to as a "deficiency" and the latter was always referred to as a "supplemental", but the two terms have come to be used more or less interchangeably.
A department is a legal entity of state government established by the legislature with a specific mission. Departments may report to cabinet-level units of government known as executive offices or secretariats or may be independent divisions.
Department code
Three-letter identification field in MMARS, unique to each agency.
Annual deduction allowed for the gradual exhaustion or obsolescence of tangible property used in the production of income.
Direct appropriation account
Entity in MMARS which records the status of appropriations which are financed by budgeted fund unrestricted revenues.
Direct debt limit
The statutory limit on the total principal amount of all direct debt issued by the Commonwealth for the purposes of financing state capital spending with the exception of debt issued on a short-term basis in anticipation of receipts from taxes and other sources.


Language included in a line item which provides that a specific portion of the appropriation be spent for a particular purpose.
Effective date
See Act
Emergency preamble
Language inserted at the beginning of some Acts, which declares that the Act is an emergency law. An emergency preamble causes the Act to take effect immediately upon the Governor's approval, rather than after 90 days.
The setting aside of money in MMARS by an agency to meet known obligations. (Payroll is an exception. Even though it is a known obligation, payroll costs are not encumbered, except for Accounts Payable obligations at the end of a fiscal year.)
Estimated receipt amount
The field in MMARS that records the amount of money that Administration and Finance believes will become available during the fiscal year in retained revenue, Intragovernmental Service Fund, and federal grant accounts. This amount is used by the Comptroller as a limit to obligations.
The legal elimination from the tax base of items recognized as falling within its definition. The federal term for what is sometimes called an exemption for Massachusetts. See Exemption below.
The legal elimination from the tax base of items or transaction recognized as falling within its definition, or of taxable units that would normally be subject to tax.
An expenditure is an outlay in cash for a specific purpose, which includes payroll expenses, payroll-related chargebacks; contracts (grants, interdepartmental service agreements, leases; subsidies; administrative, operational, and programmatic expenses; and chargebacks and payments.
Expenditure classification handbook
A manual published by the Comptroller which sets forth the official object class and object codes used for budgeting funds and recording expenses within accounts, along with definitions.
A revenue expenditure or cost, which, for accounting purposes, is charged against current revenue. To be distinguished from capital expenditure.


Federal financial participation
Reimbursement from the federal government for part of the cost of certain programs, such as Medicaid and TAFDC. Often referred to by the acronym "FFP."
Federal grant
Any financial assistance made available from the United States federal government to a state agency, either directly or through an intermediary, whether a project, formula, or block grant; a subvention, a subsidy, an augmentation, or a state plan. A grant award represents an amount that a recipient can spend within a defined period of time.
Federal grant account
Entity in MMARS which records the status of grants authorized by the Legislature to be received from the federal government and subsequently expended.
Federal grant spending
Anticipated spending to support a program from a federal grant funding source. This is a sub-category of federal grant funding provided to agencies.
Federal reimbursements
Financial assistance provided under Titles XVIII or XIX of the Social Security Act or other reimbursements received for state entitlement expenditures and credited to the General Fund, or other Federal financial assistance from the Federal government for direct payments to individuals, or for other purposes as provided for in chapter 90, chapter 92 and chapter 151A of the Massachusetts General Laws.
Federal stimulus
See American Reinvestment and Recovery Act
See Federal Financial Participation.
Fiscal year
Period that the Massachusetts budget covers: July 1 through June 30. (The federal fiscal year covers October 1 through September 30.)
Formula grant
Federal funding for which the allocation methodology is strictly determined in federal statute or regulation, and for which a state agency prepares a single application and receives subsequent years' allocation without re-application.
Fringe benefit charges
Costs assessed against federal grants and other non-budgetary accounts to defray the costs of employee benefits which are paid for centrally.
Fringe benefits
Employee-related costs other than salary, e.g., insurance and retirement costs.
See Full-Time Equivalent.
Full-time equivalent
A measure of workforce personnel, equal to one position working full time. For example, two half-time positions equal one full-time equivalent. Often referred to by the acronym "FTE".
An accounting entity in MMARS to which all receipts are credited and against which all expenditures and other liabilities are charged. By law, Massachusetts uses a fund accounting system, where all financial activity is recorded by fund. The law specifies which receipts shall be deposited to which funds. Budget acts specify which expenditures shall be charged to which funds.
Fund balance
A cumulative residual total of a fund's financial operations (revenues vs. expenditures), also measured as the difference between the fund's assets and its liabilities.
Funding source
Accounts are classified based on funding type, also referred to as funding source. There are four main funding types: budgetary appropriations, federal grants, capital, and trust accounts.


See General Appropriation Act.
See Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
See Government Accounting Standards Board.
General appropriation act
The budget for a fiscal year which is passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor to fund activities for the government for a specified budget fiscal year. The Massachusetts General Laws require that annual budgets are in statutory balance.
General court
The Legislature.
General laws
The codified collection of laws passed by the Legislature, organized into Chapters and Sections by subject. Often referred to by one of the following acronyms: "GL", "MGL", "MGLA (annotated)".
Generally accepted accounting principals
A set of accounting rules which are accrual-based and widely accepted and used. Often noted as GAAP. (The statutory accounting that the state primarily uses is largely cash-based.)
Government accounting standards board
The independent organization that establishes and improves standards of accounting and financial reporting for U.S. state and local governments. Often noted as GASB.
Government area
A group encompassing all government entities according to the organizational structure of state government. There are twelve government areas.
Governor's council
A body of elected officials which, according to the state constitution, must approve all expenditures except those for debt service and salaries for legislators and the Supreme Court justices. The Governor's Council meets weekly to approve warrants of expenditures.
Governor's message
A letter to the Legislature from the Governor that covers legislation submitted by the Governor.
Governor's Recommendation
Governor's Recommendation represents the Administration's proposed budget for the next fiscal year. This data is published in January as the Governor's Budget Recommendation.
See Step Rate
Gross income
The total of all items included in the concept of income that a taxpayer received during the taxable period.


Historical budget levels
A comparison of approved funding levels by the Legislature for the previous three fiscal years (General Appropriation Act) to the governor's recommended budget for the next fiscal year
House 1; House 2
The Governor's budget recommendations for the next fiscal year. According to the Constitution, it must be filed within 3 weeks of the convening of the Legislature in January. Newly-elected governors must file House 1 within eight weeks. In the second year of a legislative session, the Governor's budget is referred to as House 2.
Human Resources Compensation Management System, the payroll system through which all non-University of Massachusetts state employees are paid.
The payroll system through which University of Massachusetts employees are paid.


Income Tax
Citizen payments based on annual revenue received from personal work, investment income, rental property, etc. Income taxes are defined by state law and the Department of Revenue.
Incremental budgeting
A budgeting technique where a base budget is established using uniform criteria for all agencies, and additions or deletions are added to or subtracted from that base. See performance-based budgeting, program budgeting, zero-based budgeting.
Indirect cost
Overhead expense, including space rental and other administrative support costs, but not including employee fringe benefits.
Indirect cost rate
A percentage that the state charges to federal grants for overhead costs which are incurred by the state.
Information warehouse
A sizeable database which contains an extensive and expanding set of financial and payroll data. State agency personnel can extract data to construct analytical and management summary reports and spreadsheets. Also referred to as the Commonwealth Information Warehouse, CIW.
Interagency service agreement
A contract between two state agencies where one agency agrees to perform specified services and the other agency agrees to pay for those services. Often referred to as an ISA.
Internal control
Internal control is a process, effected by an entity's board of directors, management, or other personnel designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of the effectiveness and efficiency of operations, reliability of financial reporting and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
Intragovernmental service fund account
Entity in MMARS which records the status of a certain type of appropriation where an agency is authorized to make payments for goods, services, and other obligations on behalf of other agencies, and to receive reimbursement from the accounts of those other agencies. These reimbursements are called charge backs. Normally, Intragovernmental Services Fund spending and revenue are not included in statewide totals, since doing so would result in a double count. Also referred to as an ISF account.
Interagency Service Agreement. Where an agency is authorized to make payments for goods, services, and other obligations on behalf of other agencies, and to receive reimbursement from the accounts of those other agencies.
See Inter-Secretariat Budget Team.
ISF account
See Intragovernmental Service Fund account.


The official record of proceedings in each chamber of the Legislature. The House Journal and Senate Journal are published by the Clerks of the respective chambers.
Judicial branch
The Massachusetts Judiciary branch is comprised of the Supreme Judicial Court, the Appeals Court, the Trial Court, and the Committee for Public Counsel Services. The Supreme Judicial Court has original jurisdiction over certain cases and hears appeals from both the Appeals Court, which is an intermediate appellate court, and in some cases, directly form the Trial Court.


Labor Cost Management system, an interface between HR/CMS and MMARS that allows agencies to assign employee payroll expenses among different accounts and programs.
Legislative branch
The Massachusetts Legislature or General Court is a two-house body consisting of 40 senators and 160 representatives. A professional and administrative staff supports legislators, primarily through the committee structure.
Line item
Unit by which the Legislature appropriates money. Line items consist of an account number, language that outlines how the money may be spent, the amount, and the fund designation. Where no fund designation is given, the appropriation is charged to the General Fund.
Line item veto
See Veto
Local aid
Monies appropriated to be distributed to cities and towns. See Cherry Sheet.


Maintenance budget
The projected cost in the next fiscal year of maintaining the level of operations that will exist at the end of the current fiscal year.
Master service agreement
A blanket contract which covers services, often referred to as an MSA.
Health coverage authorized in Title XIX of the Social Security Act for individuals and families who meet defined financial eligibility criteria.
Massachusetts Management Accounting and Reporting System, the official accounting system of the Commonwealth.
Model budget
A preliminary budget estimate developed in-house, by Administration and Finance, prior to the formal budget development process.
Master Service Agreement consists of qualified vendors with approved rates available to meet the needs of the Commonwealth.


Net income
Amount remaining after subtracting exempt income and deductions from gross income.
Non-budgetary accounts
Spending accounts other than direct appropriation and retained revenue.
Non-budgeted funds
Financial activities authorized by the legislature but funded through receipts of dedicated revenues (such as assessments, federal grants, fees, fines, investment income) and certain designations of tax revenue. All funds except the General, Highway and Health and Wellness Funds which are considered budgeted funds.
Non-budgeted special revenue funds
Specific revenue sources that have been segregated from the budgeted funds to support specific governmental activities, such as federal grants, funds related to the tobacco settlement and operations of the state lottery.


Object class
Formerly known as subsidiary, and often interchanged. Sub-unit of an account, indicated by a two-character code, AA, BB, CC, etc. Appropriations are recorded in MMARS by object classes within an account. Object classes specify the purposes for which portions of appropriations are budgeted. For example, money budgeted in the AA can only be spent on salaries; money in KK can only be spent for equipment purchases. Monies in some budgetary accounts, and in most non-budgetary accounts, are not subsidiarized, and expenditures in those accounts are not limited by object class controls. See Expenditure Classification Handbook.
Object code
Three-character identifier used in MMARS to classify all expenditures. Object codes describe the types of goods and services procured. The hundreds of object codes can be summed into the 18 object classes, and are described in detail in the Expenditure Classification Handbook.
Official statement
A legally required disclosure document prepared at the time of bond offerings of the Commonwealth or of entities whose bonds are guaranteed by the Commonwealth, frequently referred to as an "OS".
One-time cost
An expenditure by an agency that would not normally be expected to recur in the next year, e.g., an expenditure for the installation of a computer network.
Operating budget
The Massachusetts constitution requires that the Governor recommend to the Legislature a budget which contains a statement of all proposed expenditures of the Commonwealth for the upcoming fiscal year, including those already authorized by law, and of all taxes, revenues, loans, and other means by which such expenditures are to be defrayed.
Operating transfers
Operating transfers for the purposes of this budget document, represent transfers of funds from a budgeted fund to non-budgeted funds. An example of this is the transfer from the General Fund to the Commonwealth Care Trust Fund.
See Official Statement.
Outside sections
Sections in a budget act following section 3, which contain specific provisions of law which govern the particular appropriations contained in the budget, make other special laws that usually apply for only one fiscal year, and amend the General Laws to implement permanent changes included in the budget.


See Prior Appropriation Continued.
Personal exemption
A specific amount or percentage of net income on which the tax rate is zero. To be distinguished from an exemption, which applies to a class of income or taxpayers. Sometimes called an "allowance".
Planning grant
A grant limited to supporting initial project development work such as research, consultation with subject matter experts or other planning activities. Planning grant funds usually do not support implementation activities.
Pocket veto
Legislative bills sent to the Governor for signature at the end of a legislative session are considered to be vetoed if he does not sign them within 10 days. This is called a pocket veto. (While the Legislature is still in session, a bill held unsigned by the Governor becomes law after 10 days.)
Prior appropriation continued
In general, the balance of unspent and unobligated appropriations reverts at the end of a fiscal year. (See Reversion.) Each year, some accounts are specifically exempted from this provision, and are authorized in budget acts to carry a balance into the next fiscal year. Those accounts are called "prior appropriation continued accounts" or "PAC accounts." Sometimes "PAC" is colloquially as a verb, and accounts are said to be "PAC'd." Capital accounts, at the end of their normal 5-year life span, may be subject to the same process.
Proposition 2 1/2
A Massachusetts referendum passed in 1980 that limits the growth of local property tax to an annual increase of 2.5%.


Quasi-public agency
Authorities and quasi-public agencies are state agencies and boards created by statute, that are funded to some extent with state tax dollars, and that are not directly accountable to a single elected official. They tend to be headed by chief executive officers who report to boards of directors who in turn are appointed by multiple elected officials. For example, the State Auditor, Treasurer, and Governor each appoint members to the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Teachers' Retirement System.


Rainy day fund
See Stabilization Fund.
Receipt ceiling
See Retained Revenue Account
Recommended spending
The level of expenditure recommended by the Administration for a Program or line item. In the Program budget, Recommended Spending includes All Funding Sources. In the line item budget, recommended funding level is called Budgetary Recommendation and is limited to Budgetary Appropriations only.
A line item which appropriates an amount to be transferred to other line items to fund a particular cost which is not already included in those other line items. Reserves are usually set up to fund new collective bargaining agreements, and other expenses when the distribution of costs across accounts is not known at the time of the appropriation.
Restricted revenue
Receipts which, instead of being deposited to general or "unrestricted revenue", are diverted for a specific purpose, usually for the purposes of retained revenue account.
Retained revenue account
Entity in MMARS which records the status of a certain type of appropriation where an agency is authorized to spend a specific amount of receipts from a particular revenue source for a particular purpose. The amount specified in the line item is entered into the "Receipt Ceiling" field in MMARS, and revenues deposited up to that amount may be retained and spent.
Funds received by the Commonwealth from a variety of sources including taxes, federal reimbursements, federal grants, lottery revenue, assessments, motor vehicle license fees and registrations, fees and investment earnings.
Revenue retention account
An account which allows a state agency or other public instrumentality to use retained revenue during the fiscal year in which such revenue is received to maintain all or a portion of its operations.
Unexpended and unobligated money which returns at the end of a fiscal year to the fund from which it was appropriated. This money is no longer available for agencies to spend.
Revolving account
A revenue retention account in which the retained revenues unspent or unencumbered at the end of a fiscal year are carried over into the next fiscal year for expenditure.


Salary chart
See step rate
Source code
A four-digit code used in MMARS to designate the specific type of activity from which revenue is generated. The last four digits of a revenue account number comprise the source code.
Spending category
This represents the type of spending that will occur, such as personnel, equipment leases, information technology, etc. This indicates the level of detail within a line item or account that shows actual spending as recorded in the Commonwealth's accounting system.
Spending plan
A document, submitted to Administration and Finance by all state agencies, which contains a detailed estimate of projected spending and revenue for the current year. The Spending Plan usually includes a detailed maintenance budget estimate for the following year as well.
Stabilization fund
A "rainy day" fund into which the end-of-year surplus is deposited up until the limit of 15 percent of budgeted revenues is reached. The stabilization fund is a reserve of surplus revenues used for the purposes of covering revenue shortfalls, state or local losses of federal funds, or for any event that threatens the health, safety, or welfare of the people or fiscal stability of the Commonwealth.
State revenue
All income from state taxes, state agency fees, fines, assessments, charges, and other departmental revenues, retained revenues, federal grants, federal reimbursements, lottery receipts, court judgments and the earnings on such income.
Statutory balance
The amount on the Balance Sheet which indicates the condition, if excess revenue carried forward from the previous year is counted. (The laws, or statutes, allow a certain percentage of prior year excess revenue to be counted in the balance.) See Structural Balance.
Statutory basis of accounting
Under the statutory basis of accounting revenues are generally recognized when cash deposits are received by the Treasury and expenditures are generally recorded when cash disbursement occurs.
Statutory debt limit
Enacted in December 1989, Section 60A of Chapter 29 of the General Laws set a fiscal 1991 limit of $6.8 billion on the amount of outstanding direct debt of the Commonwealth, and provided that the limit for each subsequent fiscal year was to be 105% of the previous fiscal year's limit. Certain bond issues, such as refunded bonds and bonds issued for the MBTA, Central Artery/Tunnel Project, Massachusetts School Building Authority, and bonds issued to finance the Commonwealth's accelerated structurally deficient bridge program, are exempt from the statutory debt limit.
Step rate
Salary rates for unionized state employees are outlined in salary tables which contain grades and steps. Grades are determined by position title. Each grade contains salary rates, which increase in increments and are known as "steps". Each year on their anniversary dates, and based on satisfactory performance, employees get a "step" (a predefined salary increase). When they reach the top step, they can proceed no further within a grade, unless specific collective bargaining agreements provide otherwise.
Structural balance
The amount on the Balance Sheet which indicates the condition, if excess revenue carried forward from the previous year is not counted. Also called operating or current account balance. See Statutory Balance.
Short for Subsidiary.
See Object Class
A subsidy is considered any monetary assistance, in either cash or tax reduction, provided by the federal government to support a specific project that has a public purpose. Funds designated by the Legislature to be made either as a direct payment or transfer of a specified amount to a designated recipient entity, or are designated specifically as direct payments through "Subsidies" or a "Subsidy program".
Short for Supplemental.
See Deficiency


Tax exempt lease purchase
A program where state agencies may lease-purchase equipment, and which includes tax benefits for the vendor and price breaks for the state. Usually referred to by the acronym "TELP".
Tax expenditure
Provisions in the tax code, such as exclusions, deductions, tax credits and deferrals, which are designed to encourage certain kinds of activities or aid taxpayers in special circumstances.
Tax expenditure budget
Sources of revenue for all state government.
Taxable income
Amount to which the tax rates are applied in computing tax liability, after subtracting personal exemptions from net income.
See Tax Exempt Lease Purchase.
Terms bill
A legislative bill authorizing terms and conditions of bond sales, which must be filed by the Governor, and passed by the Legislature, before previously authorized capital outlay bonds can be sold, and before bonded expenditures can be made.
Trust fund
A fund into which monies are deposited to be held by the Commonwealth or states agencies in a trustee capacity and which must be expended in an accordance with the terms of the trust.
Trust spending
This is spending from certain accounts for which the Commonwealth holds a fiduciary role, managing dollars from sources other than direct appropriation by the Legislature, such as private contributions or revenues placed in trust for spending on designated programs.
Trust/other account
Unit in MMARS which records the status of monies authorized to be spent by various statutes, other than appropriations, capital outlay authorizations, and federal grants.


Unrestricted revenue
Receipts which are deposited to the commonwealth's general revenues, as opposed to restricted revenue.


Action taken by the Governor, authorized by the Constitution, to disapprove a legislative bill. For appropriation bills, the Governor may disapprove any line item, or in some instances portions of line items, and outside sections.
Veto override
Legislative power to nullify a Governor's veto. Requires a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate.


Commonwealth Information Warehouse (CIW) brings together enterprise financial, budget, time and labor, human resources, and payroll data that is maintained in separate source applications run by independent agencies. CIW provides access to information through a centralized, integrated repository that supports timely, well informed business decisions.
A report produced weekly (and for some items monthly) which lists all payments about to be made, and which must be approved by the Governor's Council before the payments are made.
Ways and means committees
Legislative bodies in the House and Senate, which consist of members of the respective branches appointed by the House Speaker and Senate President. These bodies make recommendations to their respective chambers on all funding bills. The House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means employ budget staff, including analysts.


Zero-based budgeting
A budgeting technique that aims to justify all expenditures associated with an account or program and not just additional or current funding levels. In practice, Zero-based Budgeting includes the development of decision packages that provide a range of reduced, maintenance and growth options for the account or program.