Massachusetts Budget Process

Massachusetts Budget Process

(Typically from January to June)

1) Governor’s Budget
The annual budget process begins each year when the Governor files recommendations as a bill with the House of Representatives.

2) House Ways and Means Committee
The House Committee on Ways and Means examines the Governor’s proposal and releases its own recommendations for the annual budget for deliberation by the House of Representatives.

3) House Budget
The full House of Representatives considers amendments to the House Ways and Means recommendations and debates their inclusion in the bill. The House of Representatives then approves a final, amended version of the bill which is then sent to the Senate for consideration.

4) Senate Ways and Means Budget
The Senate Committee on Ways and Means examines both the Governor’s proposal and the House proposal and releases its own recommendations for the annual budget for deliberation by the Senate.

5) Senate Budget
The full Senate considers amendments to the Senate Ways and Means recommendations and debates their inclusion in the bill. The Senate then approves a final, amended version of the bill.

6)  Conference Committee
The House and Senate appoint three members each to a “conference committee” to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate proposals. One member of the minority party must be appointed by each branch. The conference committee reports a final compromise bill to the House and Senate for a final vote of acceptance in each branch.

7) Governors Actions
The Governor has 10 days to review the budget and take action to either approve or veto the budget. The Governor may approve or veto the entire budget, veto or reduce specific line items, veto outside sections or submit changes as an amendment to the budget for further consideration by the Legislature.

8) Legislative Overrides
The Legislature can override the Governor’s vetoes with a two-thirds vote in each branch. The House must vote first to override any vetoes before they may be considered by the Senate.

9) Final Budget
Following any Legislative overrides, the budget is finalized and is commonly referred to as the “General Appropriations Act” for the upcoming fiscal year.

Find your legislators here.