With state funds running down and an annual budget still far off, the House and Senate on Monday morning approved a short-term budget that would make $5.4 billion available to keep state government operating beyond Oct. 31, when the current interim budget expires.
Gov. Charlie Baker last week filed the interim spending authorization bill on the same day the House and Senate Ways and Means committees held a hearing on the governor's full $45.5 billion spending proposal for fiscal 2021. The governor, in a letter to legislators, said the newest interim budget, which would be the third enacted since the start of the fiscal year in July if it is sent to Baker's desk, would be sufficient to fund essential services through November, though it has no expiration date.
"We look forward to completing the final budget for Fiscal Year 2021, and we hope that the revisions we filed with you last week help move that process forward," Baker wrote. "We know firsthand the challenges you face in assuring stability in government policies during this time of disruption, and we appreciate the cooperative spirit we continue to share as we work together to get a budget in place for the full fiscal year."
The latest interim budget would take effect on Oct. 31, and would be supplanted by a full-year budget if and when one gets passed and signed by Baker. House leaders have not signaled a timeline for releasing or debating a fiscal 2021 budget proposal, after holding a hearing last week on the revised budget proposal offered by the governor.