Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Tarr: Budget Solution There if Negotiators Will Reach for It

Since October, House and Senate negotiators have been unable to agree to a uniform budget bill needed to finalize the Fiscal 2019 budget. There are many important government functions that are contingent on a final bill reaching the Governor. Today, I talked briefly with State House News Service about bridging the impasse.

Tarr: Budget Solution There if Negotiators Will Reach for It

The House and Senate are holding their sessions open Wednesday, apparently to see whether they can salvage a deal on a fiscal 2019 surplus spending bill in time to avoid the comptroller's plan to sweep the surplus into the state savings account.

Sen. Walter Timilty gaveled the Senate in just after 11 a.m. and immediately declared a recess. "Who knows what will happen today," he told the News Service. "It's a very inexact science."

Said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr: "I think this is certainly a situation where there is a solution if we're willing to reach for it. And I'll leave it at that."

Another running thread in recent Senate sessions has been inability to agree on a special election date to fill the vacant Plymouth and Barnstable Senate seat. Senate Republicans object to President Karen Spilka's proposed March 3 date. Tarr said Wednesday it's "a very heartening thing that we're able to have a discussion about what the right date should be."

That discussion might now include a second special election. Sen. Donald Humason has notified Senate leaders of his plans to resign Jan. 6 to become mayor of Westfield, his office told the News Service on Wednesday.

Rep. Paul Donato gaveled the House in at 11 a.m. and that branch is also in recess. - Sam Doran/SHNS

Among the spending being held up in the supplemental budget is a $50 million to accelerate MBTA improvements, $17 million in local scholarships, $2 million for special education , $2.4 million for regional school transit and $2 million for transportation costs for homeless students.