This is not the official budget document.

Budget Summary FY2009

Navigation Guide
Data Current as of:  6/22/2009

FY2009 Budget Summary Navigation Guide

This Budget Summary Navigation Guide is designed to help users navigate the various iterations of 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 FY09 Budget, located at

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 final budget passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor is called the General Appropriation Act, or GAA.  The GAA provides funding for a fiscal year, beginning on July 1 and ending on June 30.  The current fiscal year is 2009, generally shortened to FY09.

To learn more about the budget process, click here

The GAA has several main sections.

  1. The line items are the heart of the budget – the individual funding levels by department.  Access line items through the Statewide Summary section.
  2. Outside sections include any law changes needed to implement the budget, and can be accessed from the Outside Sections link on the Navigation panel. 
  3. Local aid is detailed in section 3.  School funding and general government aid are detailed by community and school district. 
  4. The Account Listing lists all of the accounts from the FY09 GAA, as well as any mid-year budget reductions, along with descriptions of those reductions.  The Budget Reductions section lists only those accounts that were reduced to address the FY09 budget shortfall.
  5. Budget Downloads provides files of the budget and budget reductions, including number details, in various formats such as Word, Excel and PDF.
  6. Budget Glossary provides a comprehensive list of Massachusetts budget terminology.
  7. Helpful Links lists bills, laws and official documents that are related to FY09 veto decisions, budget reductions and related bills.

Line Items – Overview of the Budget Recommendation Screens

The GAA has been issued in hardcopy, but the online version provides considerable content for approved and projected spending levels, including details for mid-year budget adjustments.

Select “Statewide Summary” to view a table with FY09 approved budget levels by area of government.  Above the table, seven tabs provide additional context for reviewing the budget recommendations. 

  • Budget Summary is the default, displaying FY09 conference budget levels, amounts vetoed by the Governor, those overridden by the Legislature, and the resulting General Appropriation Act (GAA) values.  The current estimated spending levels are also displayed.
  • Budget Build-up displays the FY09 GAA (from the Budget Summary tab), approved FY09 supplemental budgets, FY08 budget amounts authorized to continue into FY09 (Prior Appropriation Continued, or PAC), and transfers from central reserves to cover the costs of collective bargaining contracts.  The combination of GAA + Supps. + PACs + Coll. Barg. provides the total available to an agency to spend in FY09, prior to any mid-year budget reductions.
  • Budget Reductions displays the actions taken in October 2008 and again in January 2009 to reduce agency budgets.  These columns combine 3 different types of actions taken:
    • Executive branch budget reductions under the Governor’s authority under Chapter 29, section 9C.
    • Budget reductions in non-executive agencies that were outlined in section 7 of chapter 377 of 2008.
    • Budget reductions in non-executive agencies that were voluntarily offered by that constitutional officer. 

    The total remaining funds are displayed after removing the total reductions from the total available funds.

  • In section 4 of chapter 377 of 2008, the Secretary of Administration and Finance was given authority to transfer funding from one account to another within a secretariat.  FY2009 Transfers details those transfers.  In some cases, amounts that were previously reduced under the Governor’s 9C authority were reallocated to offset a deficiency within another, or sometimes the same, account. Notes at the account level describe where funding was transferred to or received from.
  • Historical Budget shows three years of budgeted amounts through the General Appropriations Act (GAA), actual FY08 spending, the FY09 GAA, and FY09 spending which reflects the impact of the Governor’s mid-year budget reductions. 
  • Historical Spending summarizes spending by expense category (see below for explanation).  Actual expenditures for FY05, FY06, FY07 and FY08 are displayed, as well as the FY09 GAA, and FY09 budget reductions.  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 contractors
    • Employee Benefits – health insurance and other employee costs
    • 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 entities
    • Debt Service – payments for Massachusetts’ bonds and contract assistance
  • Org Chart displays the overall structure of Massachusetts state government, and includes drill-downs into underlying organizational charts for secretariats and their departments.

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 assistance.

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 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 sections.

Navigation Tips

  • 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 departments. 
  • 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 screens.