ML Strategies FY2015 Massachusetts Budget Update: Governor Patrick Issues Vetoes, Signs Budget

by Mintz Levin - ML Strategies
Contact

On Friday, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law a $36.5 billion state budget for FY2015, which is nearly $10 billion larger than the budget he proposed back in January 2014. Before signing off on his eighth and final annual spending plan, the Governor issued $16.1 million in vetoes, amounting to less than one percent of the total budget and illustrating a high level of agreement between the Governor and the Legislature on priority items.

Governor Patrick vetoed five outside sections in their entirety and submitted six alternative pieces of legislation in place of sections that the Legislature had included in the final budget. Notwithstanding the overall support the Governor expressed for the budget the House and Senate conference committee delivered to his desk the final day of June, Governor Patrick did make some notable cuts and requests.

The Governor’s FY2015 Vetoes & Amendments

The Governor mainly issued vetoes in the areas of education, public safety, and energy and environmental affairs accounts. Specifically, Governor Patrick:

  • Reduced earmarks for the Department of Correction, the Executive Office of Administration and Finance, and the Department of Conservation and Recreation, among others
  • Vetoed the Legislature’s bid to weaken a new state law that requires the MBTA retirement fund to comply with the state’s public records laws, disagreeing with legislators who believe the new disclosure and ethics rule to be unenforceable
  • Nixed increased penalties for heroin trafficking and language extending higher Medicaid reimbursement rates for Franciscan Children’s Hospital in Brighton
  • Amended a section granting a 15 percent raise to district attorneys and the chief counsel of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, voicing his support for the initiative, but asking that the Legislature also sign off on a commission to study the salaries of assistant district attorneys and public defenders, whose starting salaries are $37,500 and $40,000 respectively
  • Filed a budget proposal to wrap up fiscal year 2014, in which he asked for the ability to reduce local aid and spending for FY2015 across all state agencies and constitutional offices, except the Legislature and the Judiciary, if budgeted revenues are falling short or unexpected expenses require making room in the budget for additional spending requests
    • The expanded gubernatorial power would end once Governor Patrick leaves office in January
    • As this type of power is typically only granted to the Governor after fiscal issues arise, the request caused some legislators concern

Budget Outlook

The current budget has many things in common with the draft that came before it. Namely, the current draft:

  • Funds universal pre-kindergarten grants, full-day kindergarten, and the Early Childhood Educator Scholarship program, and includes $15 million in new spending to serve about 1,700 income-eligible children on waiting lists for early education; a $6.57 million rate reserve for early educator salaries and benefits; a new $1 million pre-kindergarten classroom grant program; and a $1 million increase for Head Start programs
  • Increases funding for disproportionate share hospitals by $34 million more than proposed in the Governor’s initial FY2015 budget proposal — including $12.3 million in behavioral health funding
  • Grants $10 million toward adult community health placements
  • Provides $8 million for new rate increases for behavioral health providers in the MassHealth PCC mental health and substance abuse plan
  • Contains no new taxes; includes an amnesty program aimed at collecting overdue taxes without applying penalties; uses $73 million in anticipated revenues from casinos; and draws $140 million from the state’s rainy day fund

On Monday, the House referred the Governor’s vetoes and recommended amendments to the Committee on Ways and Means, and now House and Senate leadership will decide which of Governor Patrick’s budget vetoes to override and which of his budget amendments to bring to the floor for consideration.

There are just over two weeks left on the formal legislating calendar, and some of the budget material to be discussed — such as the expanded budgetary discretion for the Governor — does not lend itself to the informal sessions that will follow. Overrides require a two-thirds majority in each chamber, and must be completed by the conclusion of the formal sessions on July 31.

* * *

ML Strategies has tracked the annual budget debate, providing analysis on the Governor’s initial budget proposal, the House of Representatives’ FY2015 budget, and the House and Senate conference committee budget. If you have any questions about the FY2015 Massachusetts budget, please contact an ML Strategies government relations professional.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Mintz Levin - ML Strategies | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Mintz Levin - ML Strategies
Contact
more
less

Mintz Levin - ML Strategies on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.