June 2021 Legislative Update

Posted by The Brennan Group on Jul 6, 2021 9:18:36 PM
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FY 2022 Budget Process:

TBG has been closely following first few months of the 2021-2022 Legislative Session and would like to take this opportunity to update you on the FY 2022 Budget process. TBG understands how complex the Budget process is and how it impacts our clients and their legislative priorities. We look forward to speaking to you all in the coming days and weeks as the FY 2022 Budget process comes to a close.

On June 7th, the House and Senate appointed a Budget Conference Committee to work out the differences between their respective FY 2022 Budget proposals. Each branch appoints three legislators to the Budget Conference Committee, two from the majority party (Democrat) and one from the minority party (Republican). This year, the Budget negotiations are being led by the following legislators:

  • House Conferees: Ways & Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz, Ways & Means Vice Chair Ann-Margaret Ferrante, Ways & Means Ranking Minority Member Todd Smola
  • Senate Conferees: Ways & Means Chair Michael Rodrigues, Ways & Means Vice Chair Cindy Friedman, Ways & Means Ranking Minority Member Patrick O’Connor

Once the Conference Committee agrees to a compromised Budget, they will release their final report to the entire Legislature for an up or down vote. After the Legislature’s approval, the budget is then sent to the Governor’s desk for his action in July. The Governor has line-item veto authority, but the Legislature can override the Governor’s vetoes with a two-thirds vote from each branch.

Conferees are tasked with resolving several policy proposals within the FY 2022 Budget, including proposed reforms to the state’s film tax credit program, changes to state and local taxes for pass-through entities such as LLCs, and fee increases on rides booked through companies like Uber and Lyft. Additionally, Conferees are considering revising revenue projections based on a larger than expected surplus. This surplus, projected to be a minimum of $3.8 billion, could be used in place of planned withdrawals from the state’s rainy day fund.

Anticipating that they would not finalize the FY 2022 Budget prior to the July 1 start of the new fiscal year, the Legislature passed a temporary $5.41 billion-dollar interim budget on June 28 to keep government programs funded. Conferees continue to meet behind closed doors, and even once the Conference Committee Report is released, it must receive an up or down vote from both branches and the Governor will have 10 additional days for review. While the Legislature will be a few days to weeks late in finalizing the FY 2022 Budget, it will be passed much earlier than the FY 2021 Budget, which was passed in increments throughout the fall after substantial delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2021-2022 Legislative Session

                  Legislative Committees continue to process bills in virtual committee hearings until informal summer recess begins on July 31st. At this time, there are no concrete plans to reopen the State House to the public or most legislative staff. Secretary of State Galvin is urging legislative leadership to consider reopening the public halls of the State House to tourists, but legislators have expressed concerns opening the building up to large and potentially unvaccinated crowds. Senate President Spilka and House Speaker Mariano recently released a statement indicating their intention to safely reopen the State House this fall.

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Topics: Government Affairs, Legislation, Regulations, BUDGET