FY2016 Budget Summary Navigation Guide
This Budget Summary Navigation Guide is designed to help users navigate the
various iterations of the state budget and find the information most important
to them. The Guide contains a brief explanation of the budget's contents,
describing what information can be found in each area. The Guide also
provides navigation tips and additional information for using the online
presentation of the FY16 Budget, located at www.mass.gov/bb/gaa/fy2016.
Background of the Massachusetts State Budget
The annual Massachusetts state budget funds all aspects of state government,
from the Courts to the Legislature, from Executive Branch agencies to dozens of
boards and authorities. The final budget passed by the Legislature and
signed by the Governor is called the General Appropriation Act, or GAA.
The GAA provides funding for a fiscal year, beginning on July 1 and ending on
June 30. The current fiscal year is 2016, generally shortened to FY16.
To learn more about the budget process, click here.
The GAA has several main sections.
- The line
items are the heart of the budget - the individual funding levels
by department. Access line items through the Statewide Summary section.
sections include any law changes needed to implement the budget,
and can be accessed from the Outside Sections link on the Navigation
aid is detailed in section 3. School funding and general
government aid are detailed by community and school district.
- The Account
Listing lists all of the accounts with FY15 spending and/or in
the FY16 GAA.
Downloads provides files of the budget, including number details,
in various formats such as Word, Excel and PDF.
Glossary provides a comprehensive list of Massachusetts budget
Links lists bills, laws and official documents that are related
to FY16 budget development, veto decisions and related bills.
Line Items - Overview of the Budget Recommendation Screens
The GAA has been issued in hardcopy, but the online version provides
considerable content for current and historical spending levels.
Select "Statewide Summary" to view a table
with FY16 approved budget levels by area of government.
Above the table, five tabs provide additional context for
reviewing the budget recommendations.
Pie charts below the spending and budget tables give context for the
numbers. For instance, while the statewide budget summary has 12 lines for
the various government areas, the funding for Health and Human Services is
nearly half of the budget. Similarly, while salaries are the bulk of most
agency budgets, the highest statewide category is public assistance.
Additional Information Available
- Agency Information - Each department has a page devoted to its
mission statement, web site, organizational chart, and related laws and
regulations, as available. Access this information from the Agency
Information tab on the Department level screen.
- Related Information - In such a large document, it can be difficult
to locate pertinent information on a specific policy area. Each outside
section has been linked to the departments that are most affected by it.
At the Department level, select the Related Information tab to view a list of
- The tables are designed for accessing further information about an agency
or line item. For instance, after selecting Judiciary from the Budget
Summary table, a screen with a list of the judicial departments appears with
budget information at that level. Selecting a department will display
the relevant accounts.
- The list on the left side of the screen also allows for navigating between
departments. Select a Government Area from the list, and it will expand
to display the related secretariats, and then departments.
- Once a type of information has been selected, such as Historical Spending,
the same type of data will be displayed as you navigate between the government
- References to the Massachusetts General Laws or Special Acts since 1997
are linked within the text of the line-item language or outside section for