By SCOTT JACKSON
Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday unveiled his proposed $45.5 billion state budget for the current fiscal year.
Massachusetts began the current fiscal year, FY21, on July 1 without a budget amid the coronavirus pandemic. Lawmakers have passed a series of one-month budget to keep government running in the interim.
The proposed budget introduced by the governor on Wednesday represents a $900 million increase over the FY21 budget he submitted to the legislature earlier this year.
The proposed budget includes no tax increases.
“The idea of going back to taxpayers given their own situation just didn’t seem like the right thing to do,” Baker said.
The governor later stated he would veto a tax increase should the legislature approve one.
Baker is proposing to withdraw up to $1.35 billion from the state’s stabilization fund, also known as the rainy day fund, to help pay for his proposed spending plan. There is $3.5 billion in the stabilization fund presently.
“The rainy day fund is there to support services when it’s raining, and I think most people would agree it’s raining,” Baker said.
The amount withdrawn from the stabilization fund could be reduced if taxes or other revenue comes in higher than anticipated, he added.
The proposed new budget would give cities and towns no less in local aid than they received in fiscal year 2020, according to Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito.
Baker said he expects the legislature to approve a one-month budget to cover spending for the month of November, and then to approve a final budget for him to review by Thanksgiving.