Governor Charlie Baker signed a $5.5 billion interim budget Wednesday to keep state government running for the month of July.
The House and Senate are still ironing out differences between each chamber’s version of the full-year budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. They passed the interim budget on Monday.
Since Baker has 10 days to take action on the full-year budget once the Legislature sends it to him, there’s no guarantee it would become law in time to keep the wheels of Massachusetts government turning even if House and Senate enact a compromise spending plan soon.
The larger budget, once it becomes law, will supercede the interim state spending plan.
It’s not unusual for the Legislature to miss a budget deadline and give itself a short extension.
Still, Speaker Robert A. DeLeo emphasized that the Legislature has recently been getting budgets done by the time July 1 rolls around.
“Anyone know who Cal Ripken Jr. is?” DeLeo asked reporters at the State House. “What was he famous for?” he queried the journalists, who were indeed familiar with the professional baseball player best known for his record-breaking streak of consecutive games played.
“Well, for six years I’ve had a streak of doing budgets by July 1,” DeLeo said, laughing. “Whether that is going to continue or not, I’m not so sure. I’m hopeful it will.”
The House, seen as more conservative, and the Senate both passed their own spending plans earlier this year and have been wrangling over a number of tax and spending issues.
Despite a relatively good economic times across much of Massachusetts, the state faces a daunting fiscal gap, projected by the Baker administration to be $1.8 billion.