We stand up for a Massachusetts where everyone gets a fair shot, does and pays their fair share, and plays by the same rules.
Cat Sidor is Massachusetts Fair Share’s media and communications intern
Facing down a large budget deficit, Governor Charlie Baker certainly had his work cut out for him, and came through with a budget plan for fiscal year ’16 to help resolve this debt. Most programs and services will maintain the same level of funding to help tame spending patterns Baker calls “unsustainable.”
So while this may “sustain” programs and services, it does not give them room to expand, and it does not address areas which clearly need investment to keep Massachusetts on track. As part of the solution to the budget deficit, many cuts had to be made. Baker is planning to push early retirement onto 4,500 state workers and is recommending cuts to Medicaid, the court system, and more.
After looking at the budget plan, it is clear that an opportunity was missed to help our early education system, which is so important to the futures of our youth and our economy. Last month we saw a large cut to the Head Start program, and now we are facing a tight early education budget. I for one was hoping to see more of an effort to support early education, especially after all the attention this issue received on the campaign trail. It’s clear that we need to improve our early education system so that all children get the strong start that they need. Kids begin learning well before kindergarten, so it is time we invest in teaching them well before they get there. Massachusetts Fair Share will work with our partners to address these issues as the Legislature addresses the budget.
One way we can put more investment towards early education and other public priorities is to close a corporate tax loophole that allows companies to dodge taxes. We hope to see these loopholes closed soon, and putting that money back into Massachusetts.
One of the more interesting elements of the budget was the replacement of the Film Tax Credit with a meaningful increase to the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is particularly helpful for low-income families with three or more children. It should be noted that the Earned Income Tax Credit has a much more direct positive impact on the economy than the Film Tax Credit, which has created relatively few jobs for the large cost of taxpayers.