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Learn the Lingo
Appropriation: A specified sum of money authorized by the Legislature for a specific period of time to accomplish a specific purpose. See Line Item.
Fiscal Year: Period that the Massachusetts budget covers: July 1 through June 30. (The federal fiscal year covers October 1 through September 30.)
The General Court: The Massachusetts State Legislature.
Line Item: Unit by which the Legislature appropriates money. Line items consist of an account number, language that outlines how the money may be spent, the amount, and the fund designation. Where no fund designation is given, the appropriation is charged to the General Fund.
Line Item Veto: Action taken by the Governor, authorized by the Constitution, to disapprove a legislative bill. For appropriations bills, the Governor may disapprove line items, or in some instances portions of line items, and outside sections.
Outside sections: Sections in a budget act following section 3, which contain specific provisions of law which govern the particular appropriations contained in the budget, make other special laws that usually apply for only one fiscal year, and amend the General Laws to implement permanent changes included in the budget.
Veto Override: Legislative power to nullify a Governor’s veto. Requires a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate.
Ways and Means Committees: Legislative bodies in the House and Senate, which consist of members of the respective branches appointed by the House Speaker and Senate President. These bodies make recommendations to their respective chambers on all funding bills. The House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means employ budget staff, including analysts.
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