Included in this section are descriptions and summaries of the annual state budget development process in Massachusetts. To better illustrate the state’s budget objectives, we include summaries of the state’s organization, fund structure, budget development processes and, finally, the particular factors and challenges affecting next year’s budget for fiscal year 2015. Graphs and tables are provided to help illustrate many of the trends and factors affecting the state budget. Also included within this document is a user guide and glossary to assist in navigating this budget document. We encourage budget readers to visit our online website at www.mass.gov/budget.
Serving as a blueprint for the activities and obligations of the year, the state budget reflects the Commonwealth’s collective judgment about state government’s role in our society, obligations to serve its people and strategic investments to secure its future prosperity. Each program or line-item represents a critical service, program or responsibility that the state will perform or provide to families and individuals throughout the course of the year.
The Patrick Administration’s FY 2015 budget is a balanced, responsible budget. It reflects the continuing financial challenges confronting Massachusetts, along with every other state, as we continue to recover from the unprecedented impact of the 2008-09 economic recession. Despite continued improvement in revenue growth in FY 2015, the state’s revenue is not keeping pace with the rate of growth for costs in core services such as health care, safety net programs, education, public safety and transportation. The Administration’s budget once again reflects difficult choices and fundamentally changes the way we do business across an array of government programs, services and operations. This budget relies on a responsible amount of one-time resources and a modest amount of new revenue, which will assist in preserving crucial state services while maintaining our nationally-recognized fiscal standing.
In addition, the FY 2015 budget invests strategically in a number of areas of state government: funding for public education to help close the achievement gap, controlling growth in health care costs in order to preserve our nation-leading access to affordable health insurance, job creation, addressing youth and urban violence, preparing for climate change realities and improving the state’s reentry services for inmates leaving jails and prisons. The Patrick Administration is committed to protecting these investments and making difficult choices today that will allow us to uphold our responsibilities to future generations and position us for growth in the future.
The following sections describe the particular challenges facing the state in developing the FY 2015 budget and highlight the measures proposed to bring fundamental change and innovation to the way the state does business.