City Council Must Prioritize Fiscal Health in FY24 Budget

FY24 Budget Process at Key Stage

Fiscal responsibility must be in the forefront as the Boston City Council prepares to exercise its own powers to amend, adopt, or reject the Mayor’s FY24 $4.3B budget proposal. Any Council-added budget expenses must be offset by an equal cost reduction to ensure the FY24 budget does not exceed the Mayor’s proposed budget amount. The City Council should understand how amendments impact departments, such as how a reduction in personnel spending could hinder their ability to operate efficiently, and amendments must fulfill a demonstrated need in the community. City Councilors’ attendance and participation in budget hearings should inform these decisions.

The FY24 budget is the second to be produced under the voter-approved City Charter amendment expanding the City Council’s budgetary powers. The Mayor and the City Council share budgetary responsibility, with the intent to create a better budget that addresses the needs of the community. There are some caveats: the City Council does not have the power to reallocate the Boston Public Schools budget or fixed costs such as pensions, debt service, and state assessments. These total $2.5B, or 57.9%, of Mayor Wu’s $4.3B recommended FY24 operating budget. The City Council may amend $1.8B, or 42.1%, of the recommended FY24 operating budget, as long as the total does not exceed the Mayor’s proposed budget. Prior to FY23, the City Council could only approve, reject, or reduce the Mayor’s budget. The Administration worked with the City Council Ways and Means Committee Chair ahead of the FY24 process to provide guidance on the amendment process based on lessons learned in the FY23 budget process. This year is an opportunity to continue improving the process.

FY24 Budget Process in Action

Mayor’s Recommended BudgetMayor Wu submitted her recommended FY24 budget to the City Council on April 12, 2023.

City Council HearingsThe City Council reviews the budget from mid-April through June. The City Council Committee on Ways and Means budget review schedule includes hearings with testimony from city departments and the public, as well as working sessions for councilors.

City Council ResponseThe City Council must act on the budget on or before the second Wednesday in June (June 14, 2023). The City Council’s amended version requires a majority (7 votes) to pass.

Mayoral ResponseMayor Wu has seven days following the Council vote to act on the City Council’s version.  The Mayor may approve it, veto it, or return it with line item amendments.

Final VoteThe City Council needs a two-thirds majority (9 votes) to override an overall veto or any amendments in Mayor Wu’s returned budget. The Council’s final action to approve or override the Mayor’s returned budget is planned for June 28, 2023, the final City Council meeting before the start of fiscal year 2024 on July 1, 2023.

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