How to Impact State Budget Decisions

by Lew Finfer, Director of MCAN and Workforce Solutions Group (WSG) E Team member  

As you might already know, we’re in the midst of the FY17 State Budget process. Curious about the timeline and mechanics of this process and how you can get involved? Click ‘Read More’ to find out what you should know!

The State Budget Process ~ “Inside the State House”

1. Governor Baker made his budget proposals for FY 17 on 1/27/16 in what’s called House 2. 

2. House of Representatives

  • Legislators meet with the House Ways and Means Chair Brian Dempsey and tell him their budget priorities during February-Marchask them to put your budget item on their list!
  • The House Ways and Means Committee makes it’s budget decisions by late March and releases them around April 12.
  • Legislators can file budget amendments to seek to increase budget line items between around April 13-25. 
  • The House debates and votes on a budget around the week of April 25.

3. State Senate

  • Legislators meet with the Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen Spilka, and tell her their budget priorities during February-March…. ask them to put your budget item on their list!
  • The Senate Ways and Means Committee makes it’s budget decisions by early May and releases them around May 17.
  • Legislators can file budget amendments to seek to increase budget line items between around May 17-20.
  • The Senate debates and votes on a budget around the week of May 23.

 4. House-Senate Conference Committee meets in June to negotiate differences in amounts passed for budget line items.

5.  The Governor can sign or veto each budget line item when he gets the budget in later June and the Legislature can override vetoes if they have 2/3 vote. Budget is agreed on before July 1 unless extensions are passed.

State Budget Process and Organizing ~ “Outside the State House”

1. Organize local meetings with your state representatives and state senators and ask them to commit to make the state programs you care about be one of their budget priorities that they talk about with the Chair of House/Senate Ways and Means when they meet with him/her in February-March and that they will work for during the budget process. Ask them if they will co-sponsor a budget amendment for the needed funding if it’s NOT included in the Ways and Means budget. THANK THEM for meeting with you with emails, pictures and messages on social media.

2. Participate in or organize statewide rally/lobby days.

3. Organize letters and calls to your state legislators.

4. Involve your constituency to take these actions with you—staff, board, people using your programs, allied organizations, local officials, etc.

5. Get articles in your local newspaper about your state budget priorities and efforts to reach your state legislators.

For more info on organizing to impact this process, contact Massachusetts Communities Action Network, (617) 822-1499 LewFinfer@gmail.com or Kathie Mainzer at Workforce Solutions Group 617-263-3344 kmainzer@strategygroupinc.com.

Thank you for participating! 

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