A week before Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker is set to release his first budget plan, a leading fiscal watchdog group is estimating a $1.5 billion shortfall. 
The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Eileen McAnneny says the state saw larger budget gaps– on the order of $3 billion– in the middle of the recession.
"But it’s important to realize that this is happening when we’re in an economic recovery."
McAnneny says state spending on things like healthcare and pensions is outpacing growth in tax revenue.
Noah Berger, the president of the left leaning Budget And Policy Center says the gap could force the governor to propose painful budget cuts.
"To things that are important to families around the commonwealth and to the strength of their economy in the long term.”
Baker has said he will not raise taxes or fees, or tap the state's rainy day fund.