Governors from both major parties over the years have turned to midyear budget cuts when it's become apparent that tax revenues are not going to keep pace with spending. These 9C cuts are named for the section of state finance law that authorizes governors to take unilateral budget-fixing actions.

But since March, in the face of the precedent-setting evaporation of tax receipts brought on by forced business closures, the Baker administration has not revised revenue expectations -- which could have triggered 9C cuts -- or announced other specific budget-balancing plans.

State laws require the state Administration and Finance Secretary, in this case Michael Heffernan, to notify the governor in writing whenever he believes budgeted revenues will be insufficient to meet expenditures.

Within five days of that notification, the secretary must inform the governor and legislative budget officials of the amount of the probable deficiency of revenue and the governor is then required, no more than 15 days after that notification, to reduce spending and outline his or her reasons or submit to the Legislature specific proposals to raise additional revenues by an amount equal to such deficiency.

The law governing actions in the face of a "deficiency of revenue" also references the option to pull money from state reserves to backfill funding gaps.

Tax collections through May are running $1.73 billion or 6.5 percent less than the same fiscal year-to-date period in 2019, and $2.25 billion or 8.3 percent behind the year-to-date benchmark, an unprecedented decline and one that economic experts believe will not quickly reverse itself.

Asked why the Baker administration has not adjusted its revenue benchmarks downward, Heffernan spokesman Patrick Marvin did not say.

"The Administration is continuing to work with the Massachusetts Legislature and municipal officials to carefully monitor revenue collections and the impact of COVID-19 on the Commonwealth's budget," Marvin wrote in an emailed statement.

There are a number of major variables that state officials are monitoring, including revenue impacts associated with moving the tax-filing deadline to July 15 from April 15, the roles that government agencies and workers are playing in responding to the pandemic and its impacts, and the continuing debate in Washington over pandemic aid to the states. A special state law approved during the pandemic also empowers the state treasurer to borrow money for fiscal 2020 purposes as long as the funds are repaid by the end of fiscal 2021, on June 30, 2021.