Like 48 other states, the Massachusetts Constitution requires the Governor and the Legislature to enact balanced budgets each fiscal year, with revenues equaling expenditures. The budget is the central spending plan for the state, and is separate from the capital budget.
A big part of the budget development each year is the consensus revenue process. Statute requires the Secretary for Administration & Finance, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways & Means, and the Chairman of the House Committee on Ways & Means to reach a consensus on an estimate of tax revenue collections approximately six months prior to the start of the fiscal year. The three budget recommendations that are developed for the fiscal year are all based on the same revenue assumption. For more information on the Consensus Revenue process, please go to “Revenue & Expenditure Reports”.
Once the Consensus Revenue estimate is determined, the annual budget process begins with the Governor filing a budget recommendation in January for the new fiscal year to begin on July 1. The House then adopts their budget in April, with the Senate doing the same in May. A conference committee of both houses will negotiate the differences between the two spending plans, with a conference committee report then being sent to the Governor.
Once signed into law by the Governor each annual budget is called a General Appropriations Act (or “GAA”), and can be amended higher or lower by Supplemental Appropriations Acts.
For more information about the budget process, please click on the following links: