Setti Warren Calls for Transparency in Beacon Hill Budget Talks

Lawmakers face an estimated $615.7 million budget gap.

Photo via AP

Photo via AP

As Beacon Hill lawmakers prepare to hammer out a budget next week, Setti Warren has called for greater transparency in the process, and warned against using one-time revenue sources to shore up budget gaps.

In a statement late Thursday night, Newton’s Democratic mayor and likely 2018 gubernatorial candidate cited fiscal year 2018 recommendations made by the watchdog group MassBudget, which include the public disclosure of a “maintenance budget” detailing projected, year-to-year costs of current services, as well as a baseline tax revenue growth estimate that takes into account newly enacted taxes yet to take effect.

“The budget process on Beacon Hill should be at least as transparent as the process that plays out in every city and town in the Commonwealth every year,” Warren said. “It might be easier for elected officials to negotiate a budget in near-secrecy, but the job of our leaders is to heed the will of the people and you cannot do that without providing easy access to the information people need to form reasonable opinions.”

Warren, who has yet to officially announce his candidacy, made no mention of Gov. Charlie Baker in his release, but instead took aim at the longstanding practice of balancing the budget with one-time sources of revenue. Starting next week, lawmakers will work to close the estimated $615.7 million budget gap.

“Using temporary revenue sources is a way of kicking the can down the road that does not serve the long-term best interests of the Commonwealth,” Warren said. “Leaders on Beacon Hill should balance the budget the honest way, by making sure enough revenue is coming into the Commonwealth’s coffers to pay for the necessary programs the state provides its citizens.”

Warren has reportedly been spreading the word to potential donors that he will challenge Baker in 2018, after announcing he would not run for reelection in Newtown, where he’s served as mayor since 2009.