Governor Deval Patrick's Budget Recommendation - House 1 Fiscal Year 2010

Governor's Budget Recommendation FY 2010

Overview of the Operating Budget Process

Generally, funds for the Commonwealth's programs and services must be appropriated by the Legislature. The process of preparing a budget begins with the Executive branch early in the fiscal year preceding the fiscal year for which the budget will take effect.

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. State finance law (Chapter 29 of the Massachusetts General Laws) requires the Legislature and the Governor to approve a balanced budget for each fiscal year. Further, during the fiscal year, the Governor may approve no supplementary appropriation bills that would result in an unbalanced budget.

Fiscal year is a commonly used annual budgeting period. State fiscal year 2010 extends from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010. After working with agencies to analyze spending plans submitted in the fall of 2008 and under the direction of the Governor's Office, the Executive Office of Administration and Finance prepares the Governor's budget recommendations, otherwise known as House 1 (H.1) in odd years and House 2 (H.2) in even years. For this year's budget, each Secretariat held hearings across the state to solicit input on programs and services under their jurisdiction from the general public. This input was considered by agencies and A&F in the development of their spending plans. According to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Governor must propose a budget for the next fiscal year within 3 weeks after the Legislature convenes, which this year translates into the 4th Wednesday of January. Accordingly, the fiscal year 2010 budget will be filed on January 28, 2009. The budget recommendations are filed with the House of Representatives. More detailed information regarding the budget development process for fiscal year 2010 can be found in the "Expenditure Development" section.

The Governor's budget is referred for consideration to the House Ways and Means Committee, which in turn proposes a budget to the full House of Representatives. Once approved by the House, the budget is referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee, which in turn proposes a budget to be considered by the full Senate. In recent years, the legislative budget review process has included joint hearings by the Ways and Means Committees of the Senate and the House. After Senate action, a legislative conference committee develops a joint budget recommendation for consideration by both houses of the Legislature, which upon adoption is sent to the Governor.

Before signing the appropriations act, the Governor may veto the budget in whole or disapprove or reduce specific line items (line-item veto). The Legislature may override the Governor's veto or specific line-item vetoes by a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate. The annual budget legislation, as finally enacted, is known as the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

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