"...it would be reasonable for taxpayers to expect their representatives to deliberate, compromise, horse-trade and do whatever is necessary to produce quality legislative work on deadline. The most important item on that list of legislative duties is to craft a state budget, and the denizens of Beacon Hill have had months to work on one. Yet, as of last Thursday, when the governor of South Carolina signed his state's budget, Massachusetts became the last state in the union with no permanent budget in place for fiscal year 2019. Since that year began on July 1, the commonwealth is currently surviving on a one-month stopgap budget that will keep the lights on until legislators do their jobs.
"It isn't as though there are too many hands out for too little money; recent state revenue has exceeded expectations, leaving about $200 million to add to a $41-billion total for legislators to spend after other obligations have been taken care of."
"We have a well-paid, full-time, Democrat-controlled Legislature in Massachusetts and yet we’re the only state in the nation without a budget in place."
"So it must’ve been jarring last week for policy makers to acclimate themselves to the quandry they put themselves in.
"With the stroke of South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster’s pen July 5, Massachusetts became the last state in the country without a permanent spending plan in place for fiscal 2019, which in 46 states, including this one, started July 1.
"Some might shrug it off as a technicality. After all, the Legislature and governor did work together to put in place temporary funding to keep government fully operational while negotiations continue.
"But of the 10 budgets House Speaker Robert DeLeo has overseen in the big chair, this one will be the latest."