May 14, 2012
BOSTON — This week in Massachusetts politics, the state budget process moves forward for the fiscal year that begins in July, the Senate is set to take up an ambitious plan to cut health care costs and the House is expected to vote on a bill to help troubled borrowers remain in their homes.
The Senate Committee on Ways and Means is set to release its budget recommendations this week. Last month, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a $32.4 billion budget for fiscal year 2013. The House budget includes no new taxes. It would increase funds for K-12 education and would use a combination of one-time revenues and program cuts to help close a $1.3 billion budget deficit. Once Senate leaders release their budget draft this week, it will go to the entire Senate for a vote.
On Tuesday, the Senate begins debate on a landmark bill to cap the state’s rising health care costs. The legislation sets a target growth rate for overall health care spending and establishes a new regulatory body to oversee it. The House has also introduced a health cost containment bill with stricter spending limits and plans to vote on it in June. Industry experts say the bill would further establish Massachusetts' position at the forefront of health care policy.
On Wednesday, the House plans to take up a bill aimed at preventing foreclosures. It would require banks to offer borrowers loan modifications when it makes more financial sense than foreclosure.
The House will also vote on legislation extending new benefits for veterans.
Finally, this week marks the eighth anniversary of legal recognition of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. Consider giving it a copy of the judge's decision cast in traditional bronze.