Five Pieces of Pork In Maura Healey’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2025 Budget For Massachusetts

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2024/01/25/five-pieces-of-pork-in-maura-healeys-proposed-fiscal-year-2025-budget-for-massachusetts/

Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey proposed a state budget this week, clocking in at $58 billion.

It’s not the final budget. That will have to be approved by the Massachusetts Legislature and will come replete with its own set of local pork projects. But even the budget Healey proposed is fiscally irresponsible.

For one thing, it is an increase over the fiscal year 2024 budget, which was $56 billion, despite our state’s financial problems. These problems include a recent $375 million emergency budget cut and $250 million in increased emergency shelter funding on top of the already established budget due to migrants coming here from all over the world. Not to mention, the state cut taxes last year, which means less revenue — so the government should spend less.

That said, here are five examples of government waste in Healey’s proposed fiscal year 2025 state budget:

 

1.  Lottery Advertising

Governor Healey’s proposed budget calls for doubling the state lottery advertising budget from $5 million to $10 million. 

The only reason the state would do that is that it thinks it can get more money from its constituents by having them pay what effectively amounts to a voluntary tax — and a highly regressive one since poor people buy lottery tickets far more frequently than middle-class and rich people.

Lotteries tend to disproportionately advertise in low-income areas, and, overall, the real winner of the lottery is the state’s coffers, not the players. Our state lottery already makes more than $1 billion in profit each year. How much more of our money do they need? 

 

2.  Office of the Climate Chief

Let’s preface this with a few points:  climate change is real, mankind contributes to it, and climate resilience (being prepared for hazardous weather-related events, like floods and blizzards) is objectively good and saves lives.

That said, Healey’s budget appropriates $500,000 for this office — which she created via executive order.

Here’s why that’s bad.

Healey’s campaign web site says she supports the highly unrealistic goal of Massachusetts reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 — a surefire way to tank the state’s economy.

Oil and natural gas costs are bad enough in the Commonwealth already. Given that former Governor Charlie Baker wanted to add to fuel costs with a cap-and-trade scheme known as the Transportation Climate Initiative, one can only wonder what types of fun new ways Healey’s climate office will come up with to raise energy prices and kill jobs for Bay Staters.

In an ideal world, the market would present us with cheap, environmentally-friendly fuel sources to lessen mankind’s impact on the climate. However, we’re nowhere near that happening in the next few decades, and people need to afford reliable cars and gas to get to work, and we can’t make life even more expensive for Bay Staters (or Americans in general) — so this can wait.

 

3.  Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys

The proposed budget offers $150,000 for this commission.

Each year, the commission files a report and shares it with the governor’s office and the state legislature. Here is what its work entails, according to the state’s web site:

 

(d)  The commission shall conduct an ongoing study of all matters concerning the social status of Black men and boys in the commonwealth. In furtherance of that responsibility, the commission shall: (i) study, review and report on the social status of Black men and boys in the commonwealth; (ii) inform leaders of business, education, health care, state and local governments and the media of issues pertaining to Black men and boys, (iii) serve as a liaison between government and private interest groups concerned with issues affecting Black men and boys; (iv) serve as a clearinghouse for information on issues pertaining to Black men and boys; (v) identify and recommend policies and programs to be implemented by state departments, agencies, commissions, and boards that will lead to the improved social status of Black men and boys, as the commission deems necessary and appropriate; and (vi) promote and facilitate collaboration among local agencies, including community-based organizations in the state, as the commission deems necessary and appropriate.

 

Our state should look out for the downtrodden, regardless of their race, rather than dividing people along racial lines.

Additionally, this commission is on top of the $150,000 the state appropriates for the Commission on the Status of African Americans. So, among other things, one can argue that these two commissions are redundant.

 

4.  Reproductive Health Access Infrastructure and Security

Healey wants a $2 million appropriation here.

This isn’t about helping pregnant women. The money would be turned into grants for three private abortion funds in the state:  Jane Fund of Central Massachusetts, Corporation; Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts, Incorporated; and Eastern Massachusetts Abortion Fund.

We know this because that’s what this proposed line item said in her budget last year. 

We already live in a state that forces us to pay for the killing of unborn children twice. We pay for it with our tax dollars that fund Medicaid, and via health insurance — which we must have or else we pay a government fine — and government revenue pays for abortions. Oh yeah, and our state mandates that health insurance providers cover abortion without cost sharing. 

If you measure a governor’s success by how many children the governor kills, then Governor Healey is doing a great job. By any other metric, including protecting unborn children, she is awful.

 

5.  University of Massachusetts

Healey’s budget provides more than $760 million for the University of Massachusetts system — a 35.7 percent increase over how much the system got from the state four years ago (about $560 million).

We could go through all sorts of waste in the state university system — whether it’s bloated salaries, athletic programs that lose millions of dollars each, unnecessary and harmful diversity-equity-inclusion staff, or unnecessary majors that offer poor returns on investment, as just a handful of examples.

But let’s put it this way:  $560 million in January 2020 had the same purchasing power as $665 million in December 2023, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Had the bloated budget merely been indexed to inflation, the state would save nearly $100 million. 

But no, this state could never be financially responsible when it comes to higher education. 

 

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