July 11, 2014
To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives:
Pursuant to Article LVI, as amended by Article XC, Section 3 of the Amendments to the Constitution, I am returning to you for amendment Section 253 of House Bill No. 4001, “An Act Making Appropriations for the Fiscal Year 2015 for the Maintenance of the Departments, Boards, Commissions, Institutions and Certain Activities of the Commonwealth, for Interest, Sinking Fund and Serial Bond Requirements and for Certain Permanent Improvements.”
Section 253 requires spending at least $6.1 million to increase wages, compensation or salary and associated employee-related costs to personnel providing homemaker and personal care homemaker services for elders. I support the purposes of this section.
However, Section 253 proposes as the source of this expenditure the new Community First Trust Fund, which is funded by federal Balancing Incentive Program funds. This federal program limits funding to certain new or expanded services, and it is possible that at least some of the proposed services do not qualify. Therefore, I propose conditioning this expenditure on compliance with federal law.
For these reasons, I recommend that Section 253 be amended by striking out the text and inserting in place thereof the following text:-
SECTION 253. To the extent allowed by federal law, not less than $6,100,000 from the Community First Trust Fund established in section 35AAA of chapter 10 of the General Laws shall be expended to adjust the approved program rates issued under 101 CMR 417.03 to provide a rate add-on for wages, compensation or salary and associated employee-related costs to personnel providing homemaker and personal care homemaker services to elderly clients under items 9110-1500, 9110-1630 and 4000-0600 of section 2.