This Budget Navigation Guide is designed to help users
navigate 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 Governor’s FY12 Budget Recommendation, located at www.mass.gov/budget/governor/.
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 budget recommends funding
levels for a fiscal year, beginning on July 1 and ending on June 30. These
budget recommendations are for fiscal year 2012.
To learn more about the budget process, click
The Governor’s budget recommendation for the fiscal year 2012
is called “H.1”. The House Clerk’s office has traditionally reserved the first
bill number in each legislative session for the Governor’s budget. In the
first year of the legislative session, the bill is numbered “House 1”. In the
second year of the legislative session, the bill is numbered “House 2”.
2012 is the first year of the 2011-2012 legislative session.
The Constitution requires the Governor to file the budget by
the 4th Wednesday in January. New governors are given an
additional 5 weeks to prepare their first budget.
The Governor’s budget is a comprehensive multi-part
- The Introduction provides a general overview
of the state’s fiscal condition and planned spending in key areas of
government. It includes messages from the Governor and the Secretary of
Administration and Finance, a detailed explanation of the policy changes
in the budget document, and Policy Briefs which provide further
background for particular budget initiatives. These documents can be
found in the Introduction portion of www.mass.gov/budget/governor.
- The Budget Development section includes a
detailed discussion of the state’s fiscal condition, financial policies,
governance structure, and specific challenges faced in the development of
- The Financial Statements include balance
sheets detailing the expected revenue and recommended spending for the
current and upcoming fiscal year. They are required by state law to
be in balance. The revenue tables summarize the sources of tax and non-tax revenue, as well as transfers between Commonwealth funds.
Finally, fund tables show the breakout of revenues
and spending by major government unit for each budgeted fund from FY10
- The line items are the heart of the budget –
the individual funding amounts by department. Access line items
through the Budget Recommendations section.
- The operating
transfers contain Section 2E of the bill. The Patrick-Murray
Administration is including this new section in the budget to reflect
spending that currently occurs in "off-budget" trust funds, but
that is more appropriately reflected alongside all other state spending.
While expenditures for these programs will continue to occur from trust
funds, Section 2E reflects transfers to those funds. This section is particularly
important to highlight the Governor’s commitment to transparency and
accountability in the budget. Section 2E includes transfers to the
following trust funds:
- State Retiree Benefits Trust Fund
- Medical Assistance Trust Fund
- Commonwealth Care Trust Fund
- Massachusetts Transportation Trust Fund
- Local aid is detailed in section 3, and
is accompanied by a Local Aid Overview narrative. School
funding and general government aid are detailed by community and school
- Outside sections include any law changes
needed to implement the budget, and can be accessed from the Outside
Sections link on the Navigation panel. Summaries are available for
each outside section and can be viewed by selecting sections individually,
or by selecting the summary document.
- The Tax Expenditure Budget details the
estimated revenue that is lost in FY10, FY11 and FY12 due to exemptions
from taxes. This section is prepared by the Department of Revenue.
- The Capital Budget describes the
Administration’s overall capital policy, and provides a link to the
FY2010-2014 capital plan, which can be found at mass.gov/capital.
- The Federal Stimulus
section of the budget provides an estimate of the total Recovery Act
awards over the 27-month program, as well as the Governor’s goals for
economic recovery here in the Commonwealth. It also includes a summary of
the federal awards received, their spending impact, and commitment status
through December 31, 2010.
- The Resources section provides useful information to
assist the reader to understand the Governor’s Recommended Budget. These
- The Budget Downloads provides files of the
budget, including number details, in various formats such as Word, Excel and
- The Account Listing lists all of the accounts
from the FY11 budget, the FY11 estimated spending in those accounts, and the FY12
H.1 budget recommendations. Since the Governor’s budget includes
substantial consolidations of accounts, a comment describes where the funding
for particular accounts is located.
- Economic Overview A detailed discussion on health care is provided, as well as a detailed economic
report from the UMass Donahue Institute as an appendix.
Glossary provides a comprehensive list of Massachusetts budget
- Related Legislation lists bills that are
being filed in conjunction with the budget to accomplish some of the policy
goals that are reflected in the budget assumptions.
Line Items – Overview of the Budget Recommendation Screens
The budget document has been issued in hardcopy, but the
online version offers much additional information. A video clip from the
Governor’s press conference on the budget, plus additional information from the
unveiling of the budget, is the opening screen. The Navigation panel on
the left mirrors the Navigation panel within the main budget application.
Select “Budget Recommendations” to view a table with
FY12 spending and revenue recommendations by area of government.
Above the table, five tabs provide additional context for reviewing the
- Budget Summary is the default,
displaying FY12 spending and revenue. Spending is further
distinguished by its source: budgetary funds or federal, trust and
intergovernmental service funds.
- Historical Budget shows three years of
budgeted amounts through the General Appropriations Act (GAA), projected
FY10 spending which reflect the impact of the Governor’s mid-year budget
reductions, and the FY11 budget recommendation.
- Historical Spending summarizes spending
by expense category (see below for explanation). Actual expenditures
for FY08, FY09 and FY10 are displayed, as well as projected FY11 spending,
and budgeted FY12 spending. Actual spending rarely equals the exact
budgeted amounts. The reasons may include bills coming in higher or
lower than expected, programs starting late, supply issues, accounting
rules, or staff turnover. The expense categories are:
- Wages & Salaries – payroll spending for employees and
- Employee Benefits – health insurance and other employee
- Operating Expenses – administrative expenses including
office supplies, facility and equipment costs, and information technology
- Public Assistance – programs for Massachusetts citizens –
from cash assistance to health care
- Grants & Subsidies – grants to public and non-public
- Debt Service – payments for Massachusetts’ bonds and
- Employment Levels displays the state
workforce funded from operating funds as of June 2008, 2009, and 2010,
approved for 2011, and projected for FY12. Employees are counted as
full-time equivalents (FTEs) to allow for standard comparisons across
years and to avoid confusion from part-time staff; for instance, 2 half-time
staff are counted as 1 FTE.
- Org Chart displays
the overall structure of Massachusetts state government, and includes
drill-downs into underlying organizational charts for secretariats and
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
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 and supporting document 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 relevant
- To search for a particular account, use the “Where’s My
Line Item” feature at the top of each screen in the budget site.
- A general search of the entire budget site is also
available at the top of each screen.
- 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
- 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 levels.
- 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 easy review.
- Line-item language is available for each account, but the
default is to display only headings for easier analysis. Select
“View line item language” to expand the page.
- Detailed information for all secretariat line items can be
found by selecting the detail link at the top of the secretariat