According to the business-funded Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, 54 percent of the state budget consisted of nondiscretionary items in fiscal 2008; in 2017, it’ll be about 61 percent. The cost of public employee pensions and debt service have risen.
Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 calculates MassHealth spending at $15.47 billion, or 5 percent more than the current fiscal year, according to an analysis this week by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. After federal reimbursements, the group said, the proposed budget would boost state spending on MassHealth by about $275.7 million.
"Each year we delay action on this, the problem gets bigger and more unwieldy," said Carolyn Ryan, assistant director of policy and research for the business-oriented Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which has studied the impact of retiree benefits on state and local governments.