bullet House Committee on Ways and Means
bullet Joint Committee on Taxation
bullet House Committee on Long-Term Debt and Capital Expenditures
bullet Executive Office of Administration and Finance
bullet Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation
bullet The Pioneer Institute
bullet Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center




"We must find honest solutions to today's problems. It is terribly irresponsible to 'solve' our crisis by leaving legacies of denial and debt for future leaders."
 image of a pile of pennies
-Speaker Tom Finneran
Over the past two years, the Commonwealth has experienced an enormous change in economic fortune. The continuation of a robust real estate market and relatively low unemployment rates belie a fiscal crisis for the Commonwealth which surpasses any crises of the past fifty years. In Fiscal Year 2002 alone, Massachusetts suffered a staggering 15% drop in revenues, compared to a 3.4% drop during the fiscal crisis of the late 1980's and early 1990's.

Between June 2001 and June 2003, tax revenues will have dropped nearly $3 billion, according to current projections from the Department of Revenue. The Legislature has attempted to meet this deficit with a combination of $1.2 billion in budget cuts, an increase of $1.2 billion in tax revenues, and the use of $2.6 billion from various reserve funds.

The change in our economic situation came quickly and without warning. However, because Tom Finneran pushed to build the Stabilization Fund to a high of $2.3 billion over the past decade, it has thus far been possible to avoid the gimmickry and borrowing which other states have recklessly embraced.

The current Fiscal Year 2003 budget includes over $1 billion in one-time revenues that can only be addressed by budget cuts in Fiscal Year 2004. Tom Finneran and the House of Representatives will produce a Fiscal Year 2004 budget that is honestly and prudently balanced using reliable revenues, and Speaker Finneran will continue his strong opposition to balancing the budget on credit. It is bad economics that doesn't work for Massachusetts' families or for the Commonwealth.

Due to the Legislature's foresight in creating a stabilization fund, Massachusetts averted considerable pain as a result of a fiscal downturn. However, no law exists requiring the replenishment of reserves in good economic times. Speaker Finneran and members of the House of Representatives are proposing a Constitutional Amendment that will require the creation of a taxpayer's reserve fund to keep spending from growing to unsustainable levels in times of economic prosperity and to create a means to help fund the state's obligations during fiscal downturns.
Speaker Finneran remains committed to making sure that Massachusetts' taxpayers' dollars are responsibly and prudently spent.
Voter Record: Fiscal Affairs
Support Oppose Bill # and Explanation Date
 #   H. 5100. This bill made appropriations for the Fiscal Year 2003 in a balanced budget. House passed. (Y142 N8) 5/16/02
 #   Amendment to H. 5100. This amendment to the Fiscal Year 2003 budget allowed for a 2.5% increase in overlay taxes that would not be assessed, but anything greater would have to be included. House rejected. (Y43 N111) 5/14/02
 #   H. 4054. This bill enhanced the Commonwealth's revenues in order to sustain state services. House passed. (Y130 N24) 5/02/02
 #   H. 4101. This bill made appropriations for the fiscal year 2002 in a balanced budget. House passed. (Y145 N8) 5/7/01
 #   H. 5300. This bill made appropriations for the fiscal year 2001 in a balanced budget. House passed. (Y140 N14) 7/18/00
 #   H. 4401. This bill made appropriations for the fiscal year 2000 in a balanced budget. House passed. (Y151 N0) 5/7/99
 #   H. 4401. This amendment to the Fiscal Year 2000 budget increased the stabilization fund, also known as the "Rainy Day Fund," a state fund that saves money during strong fiscal years allowing the state to buffer budget cuts in poor economic times. House passed. (Y 151 N 0) 5/7/99