From the Office of State Representative Aaron Michlewitz:
House Passes Balanced FY ’12 Budget
Vital local programs preserved; Includes $100 million savings through municipal employee health care reform
State Representative Aaron Michlewitz joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in passing a balanced FY ’12 budget aimed at increasing government efficiency, cutting costs and preserving essential services across the Commonwealth. The budget, which passed with bipartisan support, closes a projected $1.9 billion budget gap through cuts to state spending totaling $1.2 billion.
Without federal resources available to assist in closing the budget gap, the $30.52 billion budget contains major reductions in many areas of state spending, including the total elimination of funding for several line items.
However, crucial programs that are essential to the Third Suffolk District were either saved or funding was recuperated from initial cuts that were proposed. Programs like the Jewish Vocational Services Jobs training program, Adult Day Health services, AIDS Treatment funding, and summer jobs for at-risk youths.
“These programs touch a wide variety of groups in my district and will improve the quality of life for scores of people.” Said Representative Michlewitz. “From senior citizens to people trying to get the skills they need to get a job, this budget seeks to safeguard the most vulnerable needs.”
The House budget also includes a cost-saving municipal employee health care reform measure which would save at least $100 million annually for cities and towns, according to a number of recent studies. Under the proposal, municipal workers would pay no more in co-payments and deductibles than those paid by subscribers to the largest plan offered by the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) which provides health insurance to state workers and legislators.
“With this budget, we are getting the most value we can from limited state dollars and striving to implement sensible reforms that protect taxpayers,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said. “In difficult times like these, we’ve produced a budget that protects essential services and shields our neediest residents while bringing new efficiencies and cost savings to state government.”
“This cost-saving measure will allow cities and towns to rein in healthcare costs with as little pain as possible to people’s jobs and their quality of life.” Said Representative Michlewitz.
The municipal employee health care reform proposal would authorize cities and towns to implement health insurance plan design changes to bring savings to municipalities across the Commonwealth.
The budget now heads to the Senate where it will be debated and voted on in the coming weeks. After the Senate approves the budget the House and Senate meet in conference committee to iron out the differences between the two proposals. Once there is an agreement the final budget is sent to the Governor where he has 10 days to review the proposal and whether or not to exercise his option to veto or reduce spending.
Contacts: Blake Webber