The Massachusetts Legislature did something Tuesday night to make it more difficult for tax money to be used to help pay for the Boston 2024 Olympics bid. But it’s not entirely clear exactly what — or how important it is.
Matt Stout in the Boston Herald quotes unnamed “lawmakers” as saying that the final budget deal produced by House and Senate negotiators “includes language preventing the use of state funds or tax expenditures for the 2024 Olympics.” His lede describes it as a “ban.”
But Andy Metzger of State House News Service offers a somewhat different spin, writing, “The budget … requires passage of a special act of the Legislature before any public funds can be spent to benefit the proposed 2024 Boston Olympics.” Maybe that amounts to the same thing, though it’s not clear.
Bruce Mohl’s analysis in CommonWealth Magazine offers this:
The budget contains a provision requiring that any expenditure of tax dollars for hosting the Olympics in 2024 must first be approved by the Legislature after public hearings. The budget, of course, remains in effect for one year, through the end of June 2016.
Of course, one legislature’s actions are not binding on the next, and it seems pretty unlikely that the Boston 2024 folks are going to ask for public funds anytime in the next year. Which may explain why The Boston Globe’s budget story, by David Scharfenberg and Joshua Miller, makes no mention of it at all.
Or maybe not.
It strikes me that the measure was worth a mention, even if it’s largely symbolic. The implications of budget deals often become clearer in the days after they are reached. I hope we find out more about what actually happened Tuesday night.