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· MassCops Angel
121,616 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Governor Deval Patrick's administration is considering widespread emergency cuts in the state budget after tax collections plummeted by $200 million in the first two weeks of September, fueling fears of a deeper financial crisis as the nation's economic outlook worsens.
The precipitous drop puts the state's revenue far below what state officials had budgeted for this point in the fiscal year that began July 1, according to a Department of Revenue report. Moreover, officials expect the budget situation to worsen as the turmoil in the nation's financial markets weakens the economy, resulting in lower tax revenues for the state.
"The current economy and its impact on the state are going to complicate what's already been a challenging budget problem," said Leslie Kirwan, Patrick's secretary of administration and finance, who has grappled with consecutive $1 billion budget deficits. "We will be watching this very closely for the rest of the month."
The state anticipated it would collect about $1.1 billion in the first two weeks of September. Instead, it generated only $889 million, an 18.4 percent drop from the same period last year. Overall, budget officials hoped to end the month $80 million ahead of September 2007 collections, a threshold that now seems unreachable given the shaky economy.
The Revenue Department report attributed the drop to weak collections from payroll taxes, which were down $73 million, and anemic revenues from corporate business taxes. Those collections dropped $84 million from a year ago. The state also generates revenues from sales taxes, income taxes, capital gains taxes from investments, and other sources.
Kirwan said the numbers in the Department of Revenue report caused the administration this week to ask managers to comb their books to ensure that salary accounts are being kept level and that merit raises have been suspended.
The report indicated that collections could rebound in the latter weeks of September because the majority of revenue is processed at the end of the month.
But Kirwan said she expects that emergency budget cuts will be necessary and that Patrick would implement them throughout the executive branch in October. She added that it is impossible to know the size and focus of the cuts until the budget picture becomes clearer.
"We're going to take a hard look at everything," she said.
If revenues continue to decline, she said, the governor would seek expanded powers to spread the cuts across state government, to accounts that pay for everything from the judiciary to services in cities and towns.
Under state law, Patrick must get approval from the state Legislature to make cuts to accounts outside the executive branch. That power has not been granted since 2003, when former governor Mitt Romney implemented sweeping mid-year reductions in the face of a spiraling deficit.
Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said the state must make immediate spending reductions. "The September numbers are very sobering," he said.
He noted the numbers in the revenue report do not reflect capital gains taxes, which are expected to decline given the turbulence in the stock market. "The big hit is yet to strike," he said.
Top lawmakers declined comment on the budget outlook last night. However, Senate President Therese Murray, a Plymouth Democrat, has called for an unusual meeting on Monday to examine the state's finances. Expected to attend are Kirwan, state Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill, and budget leaders in the House and Senate.
Unlike the federal government, the state cannot run a deficit and must finish the fiscal year with a balanced budget.
Seeing signs of an economic slowdown, Patrick has been planning for the possibility of budget cuts for several months and has asked managers in all executive agencies to identify services that could be trimmed. He has also implemented restrictions on hiring and has cut spending on salaries and benefits for employees.
Compounding this year's problem is how much the federal government will reimburse the state for healthcare programs. The state had planned to receive $3.5 billion for this fiscal year, but negotiations have dragged on past the June 30 deadline. If federal aid falls short, that could force more budget cuts.
The state also faces rising costs associated with its universal healthcare law, which has led to higher-than-expected enrollment in state-funded insurance programs. Patrick proposed a plan to raise an additional $130 million from employers and insurers to help fund the new law.
State officials are also grappling with the impact of the stock market turmoil on the state's pension fund, which is down nearly 8 percent so far this year. That's far better than US stocks, which are down about 14 percent so far, but the fund typically has higher returns because of its diversified investment strategy.
Cahill noted the pension fund is not overly reliant on stocks.
"We're long-term investors, and I have confidence that we are well positioned to rebound," he said. "But it won't be a pretty year."

· MassCops Angel
121,616 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Patrick readying budget cuts amid lagging revenues

BOSTON -- Gov. Deval Patrick is preparing to announce a series of budget cuts.
The state Department of Revenue is expected to announce Wednesday that tax collections fell behind expectations in September and for the first quarter of the fiscal year.
Treasurer Timothy Cahill says that with that information, Patrick will likely announce cuts in the budgets under his control, including the governor's office and the various secretariats in the Executive branch, including Economic Affairs, Public Safety and Energy.
Patrick also has met with the state's other constitutional officers and Margaret Marshall, chief of the Supreme Judicial Court.
While the governor cannot currently cut their budgets, he asked the Legislature earlier this year for expanded budgetary powers.

· MassCops Angel
121,616 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
State Cuts To Hit Pension System, Turnpike Auth.

Read: Governor's Release On Budget Cut Plan (pdf)

Read: Jon Keller's Political Blog

Gov. Deval Patrick is pushing a series of spending cuts and reforms after state revenues fell $223 million short of expectations in the first quarter.

BOSTON (WBZ) ― Gov. Deval Patrick is pushing a series of spending cuts and reforms (pdf)-- including dismantling the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority -- after state revenues fell $223 million short of expectations in the first quarter.

The slowing economy will force officials to lower their estimate for expected revenue for the rest of this fiscal year.

Reducing the number will give Patrick the authority to make cuts across the executive branch. He's also asking lawmakers for the power to make cuts throughout the rest of state government.

Patrick says he'll also file legislation to dismantle the Turnpike Authority, restructure the Big Dig debt and consolidate other departments.

Part of his budget reduction plan includes reforming the State and MBTA pension systems.

In a joint statement released shortly after Patrick's announcement, Senate Pres. Therese Murray and House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi said they agree with Gov. Patrick that the state has to act now to deal with the effects of the economic downturn.

"The Legislature agrees with the governor on the need to make cuts now across state agencies under his statutory authority and we will cooperate in that effort and in our continuing efforts to find greater savings and efficiencies in state government."

In fact, instead of the 7 percent budget cut proposed by the governor, Murray and DiMasi say they'll go even further by reducing their budget for the 2009 fiscal year by 10 percent, which would send $9.1 million to the General Fund for other critical spending priorities.

Patrick said the cuts and consolidations are needed because revenues will likely continue to drop given the nation's ongoing economic crisis.

· MassCops Angel
121,616 Posts
Discussion Starter · #21 ·
DiMasi warns of possible local aid cuts

Standard-Times staff writer
October 07, 2008 1:49 PM

BOSTON - House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi today said cities and towns should be prepared for the possibility of local aid cuts, though he termed it a "last resort" the Legislature and governor hoped to avoid.
"Municipalities across Massachusetts should be concerned," DiMasi said in response to a question about local aid. "I think they should be prepared, and they should be preparing for something that may happen in the future. If the governor sees expanded (budget cutting) power, he has the ability to cut back on local aid and chapter 70."
Gov. Deval Patrick is expected to announce emergency budget cuts late next week. However, the Legislature has not granted him permission to make cuts in local aid.
"I think that's a last resort," DiMasi told reporters. "I think many of us, including the governor, would like to see it protected at all costs, because I think that is part of why Massachusetts' economy is more successful and more stable than the rest of the country, because of our investment in education."
DiMasi and Rep. Robert DeLeo, D-Winthrop, the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, met for more than an hour this morning with a panel of independent economic experts. The state has just under $2 billion in reserves.
"Obviously, we have to be judicious in terms of our spending, of our resources, our rainy day fund," DeLeo said. "We heard that loudly and clearly. We could be talking about using reserves for a year, two years, maybe three years."

· MassCops Angel
121,616 Posts
Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Gov. Deval Patrick spends, preaches save

$pending spree amid cutbacks

By Dave Wedge
Wednesday, October 8, 2008 -

Gov. Deval Patrick may be tightening the state's belt, but fiscal restraint has yet to hit his campaign account, where pricey hotel rooms and meals remain routine business, a Herald review found.
The governor racked up more than $22,000 on his campaign credit card this summer, jetting around the country for political events, including the Democratic National Convention in Denver and a Chicago confab with Barack Obama, records show.

Among his expenses were:

$1,160 for two rooms at the stately Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia for a July National Governors Association meeting;

$636 for two rooms at the AAA four diamond-rated Fairmont Chicago hotel for a June Obama event;

$520 for two rooms at the Westin Convention Center in Pittsburgh for an August Democratic National Convention Committee meeting;

$1,796 for a staff meal at the plush Westin Tabor Center in Denver for the DNC;

$4,306 for hotel rooms at Denver's Renaissance Hotel for the DNC;

$420 for two rooms at the Crowne Plaza in Cleveland for an August DNC meeting; and
$565 for meals at Jax Fish House and The Palm steakhouse during the DNC.

Patrick campaign spokesman Stephen Crawford said most of the travel occurred on weekends and defended the governor's political spending, saying: "It is important for the governor to participate in these national gatherings because they are so important to the future of Massachusetts."

His expenses also include meals at West Stockbridge hot spot Rouge and Hub steakhouse KO Prime in May. And in July, he purchased $2,836 in new office furniture from Crate & Barrel, records show.

Patrick, who has more than $338,000 in his war chest, has also continued a brisk fund-raising pace, hauling in more than $13,000 in September.

(1) Comments | Post / Read Comments

· MassCops Angel
121,616 Posts
Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Here We GO

6,000 State Employees Could Be Cut

Visit: WBZ's Guide To The Economy

Ron Sanders
BOSTON (WBZ) ― While the global financial crisis and plummeting state revenues are forcing Gov. Deval Patrick to prepare painful budget cuts, he says, "We're going to do it in a way that is thoughtful...that is surgical,"-- a fiscally conservative think tank says the doctor's scalpel won't cut deep enough, that a "cleaver" may be needed to chop state spending by $600 million to $1 billion.

WBZ's Ron Sanders spent the day at the State House where the weather outside is better than the forecast under the golden dome.

"Like 'The Perfect Storm,' the movie," said one lawmaker outside the House chamber.

Jim Stergios is executive director of the Pioneer Institute, the non-profit, non-partisan research group calling for the "cleaver" rather than the "scalpel" approach to budget cuts such as:

- 6,000 State jobs for savings above $357 million;
- the Quinn Bill, which gives police financial incentives for getting master's degrees, a savings of about $50 million;
- and budget earmarks, $40 million in savings.

Stergios says, "I think, frankly, the Senate and the House would be very comfortable if the Governor said 'I'll take the heat and we'll go back to lower employment levels that we had 4 or 5 years ago.'"

"By 6,000 jobs?" Sanders asked.

"By 6,000 jobs," Stergios said.

"Seems like an enormous impact," Sanders said.

"It's a huge impact but, again, it's huge growth," Stergios said.

Rep. Brian Wallace (D) South Boston says, "There are going to be layoffs, no question about it. How deep and how severe? You know, we're going to have to wait and see."

House Minority Bradley Jones, (R) North Reading, says, "I think clearly the number of positions is going to be on the table."

Jones seems to echo some Democrats on the Quinn Bill too.

Wallace says, "That gets dicey because of union situations."

Jones says, "It's a little more dicey because it's a contractual obligation."

Solutions may be dicey, too. Wallace says, "Casinos maybe still be on the table."

If there's consensus across the aisle and between the branches, it's that local aid cuts would be a last resort; but as the time for cuts gets closer, the leadership makes it clear: everything is on the table.

As for cutting earmarks, Patrick has already talked about saving tens of millions that way.

· MassCops Angel
121,616 Posts
Discussion Starter · #51 ·


Patrick To Stump For Obama In NH, PA

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick looks on as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama speaks to an enthusiastic crowd of thousands at Boston Common Oct. 23, 2007 in Boston. Patrick, the only African-American governor in the nation, announced
Getty Images

BOSTON (AP) ― Gov. Deval Patrick's trips to New Hampshire and Pennsylvania to stump for Barack Obama this holiday weekend are earning him some grief at home.

Republican state Sen. Richard Tisei says Patrick is needed more now in Massachusetts, which is dealing with a fiscal crisis after revenues came in more than $220 million under projections for the first quarter.

Massachusetts GOP spokesman Barney Keller says Patrick is putting partisan politics above the state.

After leading a busload of Obama supporters to New Hampshire to knock on doors in Portsmouth on Saturday, Patrick will campaign for Obama in the swing state of Pennsylvania later this weekend.

· MassCops Angel
121,616 Posts
Discussion Starter · #67 ·
According to the MPA website it appears the quinn bill is underfunded (again) and would require supplementation. Jim MAchado also alludes tot he fact that Patrick is a reformer and I took that to mean he may look at cutting it. I sent an email in but no reply as of yet. Am I worrying over nothing?Anybody have any other info?
Other than Patrick being a lying a-hole no

· MassCops Angel
121,616 Posts
Discussion Starter · #90 ·
Patrick To Cut 1,000 Jobs, $700M From Budget

Check: 2009 Local Aid Breakdown Before Cuts

Check: WBZ's Economic Resource Guide

By Glen Johnson, AP Political Writer

BOSTON (AP) ― Gov. Deval Patrick will eliminate 1,000 state government jobs, cut about $700 million in spending and ask to transfer several hundred million dollars from Massachusetts' rainy-day fund to offset a shortfall in tax collections that may exceed $1 billion, a top Statehouse official said Wednesday.

The work force reduction will be achieved through layoffs, attrition and a hiring freeze, the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Patrick has not made his decisions public. A transfer from the state's $1.8 billion rainy-day fund, which must be approved by the Legislature, would help reduce the size of other budget cuts, the official said.

The governor was to announce the cuts at the start of the 5 p.m. local newscasts, hoping for a sizable audience. Earlier in the afternoon, he planned to huddle with senior government leaders at the Statehouse to outline his methods for balancing the state's $28.2 billion budget.

"His cuts are deep, and his cuts are going to be painful," House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, who met with Patrick late Tuesday, said Wednesday.

Key players in the state's criminal justice system stepped forward Wednesday morning with their own budget cuts, lending a cooperative air to the exercise.

The chief of the state's court system and the attorney general announced reductions in the budgets they control, while three of the state's 11 district attorneys traveled to the Statehouse to offer voluntary cuts they hoped would stave off even deeper ones for prosecutors.

Margaret Marshall, who oversees the court system as chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, said in a statement that she would aim to cut $30 million out of a Judiciary budget that totals $824 million. She and Trial Court Chief Robert Mulligan said they planned a hiring freeze effective this week, cancellation of departmental conferences, restriction of in-state travel and the elimination of out-of-state travel. No furloughs or layoffs are planned.

Marshall said further cuts would be challenging.

"Unlike state agencies which have an array of programs, the court system has a single core mission -- the delivery of justice. We are committed to reducing our expenses to the most spare and essential functions necessary to maintain our mission and constitutional obligations," the chief justice wrote.

Attorney General Martha Coakley, the state's top law enforcement officer, said her office would cut $500,000 to $1 million out of her $44 million budget during the remainder of the 2009 fiscal year. But, like Marshall, Coakley said deeper cuts might impede the office's revenue collections.

Last year it took in $200 million.

"The Attorney General's Office plays multiple roles in the commonwealth, both bringing in revenue for the commonwealth and saving taxpayers money," Coakley said in a statement. "As such, we are diligently and carefully reviewing our budget in order to best determine how we can trim our spending while not impeding our ability to recover funds for the commonwealth and to continue to advocate for consumers."

The district attorneys made a similar argument. They offered to return nearly $3 million to the state, about 2.5 percent of their $102 million collective budgets, including a special $500,000 appropriation that had been intended for bonuses to retain more experienced prosecutors.

Over 90 percent of the DA's budgets go to salaries, and they are relatively spartan. Starting prosecutors are paid $37,500, their average salary is $50,000 and many have more than $100,000 in loans from undergraduate and graduate schools.

"We volunteered these cuts because we wanted to do our part but there's not really much farther we can go," said Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, president of the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association.
Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said the offices need more money, not less, due to a spike in domestic violence and other crimes that can grow from economic anxiety.

"Historically, you always see crime go up when times are bad," Early said.

Patrick, DiMasi, Senate President Therese Murray, Treasurer Timothy Cahill and Auditor Joseph DeNucci had previously promised cuts in their offices.

The Revenue Department reported earlier this month that tax collections had fallen $223 million short during the first quarter of the fiscal year. The governor expects that trend to deepen, so he's going to make large cuts now.

The state is already slated to withdraw $400 million from its rainy-day fund to balance the fiscal 2009 budget, which runs through June 30.

Watch the governor's announcement live on and WBZ-TV at 5 p.m.

· MassCops Angel
121,616 Posts
Discussion Starter · #93 ·
The asshole hasn't realy said shit we will have to wait to see
what comes out in print

Oct 15, 2008 5:44 pm US/Eastern
Patrick Orders 1,000 Job Cut, $800M From Budget

Check: 2009 Local Aid Breakdown Before Cuts

Check: WBZ's Economic Resource Guide

By Steve LeBlanc, AP Writer

BOSTON (AP) ― Gov. Deval Patrick, struggling to close a $1.4 billion budget hole brought on by plunging tax revenues, said Wednesday he would eliminate up to 1,000 jobs and order state agencies to make more than $1 billion in cuts and spending controls.

Patrick is also asking lawmakers to dip into the state's rainy day for another $200 million.

The bulk of the $1 billion in cuts and spending controls comes through $755 million in budget cuts that Patrick ordered the heads of state agencies to make during the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

That's on top of another $52 million in voluntary cuts already being made by the courts, district attorneys and other constitutional offices including the attorney general and state auditor.

"Just like families all across the Commonwealth, state government is feeling the pinch," the governor said at a late-afternoon news conference at the Statehouse.

He warned residents to expect longer lines at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, fewer community policing patrols, slower permitting processes, and less frequent maintenance of parks and open spaces.

Patrick said he tried to make the least severe cuts to services critical for the future, such as health care and education. He said the "sacrifice must be shared."

"I understand that behind the numbers is often somebody's first chance or only chance at a better life," he said. "I have tried to be mindful of that in making decisions, and for that reason have not made cuts in equal measure across the board."

Senate President Therese Murray, whose members would have to join with the House to approve $341 million of Patrick's actions, said the plan is "indicative of the serious nature of our budget situation in context of the global market crisis."

She did not commit to any of the requested changes, but said, "During this necessary and difficult process, we must remain calm and take proactive steps to do what is best for our commonwealth."

The action is being taken as Patrick faces the biggest fiscal crisis of his time in office.

The $1.4 billion hole opened up for two reasons: a $1.1 billion anticipated drop in tax revenues due to plummeting capital tax returns and a $300 spike in unavoidable expenses, including soaring caseloads, the increase in the cost of debt and snow and ice removal costs not originally included in the existing budget.

Patrick's plan also saves $100 million by slowing the rate of pension fund payments. Under the existing schedule, the state would fully fund the pension fund by 2023. Extending that by two years would save the extra $100 million.

Another key part of Patrick's plan is to force agencies that typically come back to the state midyear to ask for additional funds to instead live within their existing budgets. That is expected to save about $146 million.

The $341 million requiring legislative approval includes taking the $200 million from the state's rainy day fund.

That would also come on top of the $400 million rainy day fund withdrawal already included in the existing budget. The $600 million hit would leave just $1.6 billion left in the savings account.

The plan also anticipated $168 million in new revenues, including $100 million in one-time corporate tax settlements with the Department of Revenue and $55 million in additional federal dollars not included in the original budget approved by lawmakers during the summer.

Patrick said some portions of the state budget are off-limits -- at least for now -- including local aid payments and school aid to cities and towns.
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