Governor Patrick Signs Fiscal Year 2015 Budget
$36.5 Billion Budget Continues Proven Strategy of Investing In Education, Innovation and Infrastructure to Create Growth and Opportunity; Provides Funding to Support Critical Services
BOSTON – Friday, July 11, 2014 – Governor Deval Patrick today signed a $36.5 billion Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) budget that supports the Patrick Administration’s proven growth strategy of investing in education, innovation and infrastructure to create growth and opportunity across the Commonwealth, and also supports the critical programs and services Massachusetts residents want and deserve.
“When we invest in education, innovation and infrastructure, we create jobs and opportunity in the near term and strengthen our Commonwealth for the long term,” said Governor Patrick. “This budget continues to support that strategy and to fund the services necessary to improve the quality of people’s lives.”
The FY15 budget includes a $100 million increase in Chapter 70 local education aid, reflecting the Administration’s view that nothing is more important than strengthening our schools and providing every child in Massachusetts with access to a high-quality education. Funding for Chapter 70 local aid is now at $4.4 billion, the highest level in state history and an increase of 26 percent since Governor Patrick took office.
This budget builds on the Patrick Administration’s unprecedented support for early education, providing an additional $24 million for early education to move 1,700 children off the waitlist for early education programs in FY15. Together with last year’s investments in early education, 5,000 more children will have access to the high-quality early education opportunities that are critical for their future academic and economic success. The budget also invests in the Commonwealth’s public universities and colleges to promote future growth and prosperity, including a significant increase in funding for public higher education, which will allow the University of Massachusetts to freeze tuition and fee increases for students for the second consecutive academic year.
The FY15 budget includes investments to make the Commonwealth’s communities stronger and safer and provides supporting services and opportunities for our most vulnerable residents, including $10.2 million for the summer jobs program for at-risk youth, $8.2 million for Shannon Grants and $4.6 million for the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative.
The FY15 budget also reflects the Patrick Administration’s efforts to reduce the state’s reliance on one-time solutions. It includes a withdrawal from the Stabilization Fund of $140 million, less than half of the $350 million withdrawal in FY14, keeping the Commonwealth on track to finish next year with one of the highest rainy day accounts in the Nation, at more than $1.2 billion.
“This budget continues to build on the Patrick Administration’s record of reforming government while continuing to provide the funding to deliver quality services for the residents of the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Administration and Finance Glen Shor.
The budget also includes supports for other key areas funded in the Governor’s FY15 budget proposal, including:
- A $48 million increase for the Department of Children and Families above the FY14 General Appropriations Act, of which $14.6 million is included for capacity building and operational improvements at the Department to better serve families in need;
- $1.7 million to support Governor Patrick’s sustainable, cost-effective criminal justice reforms which will dramatically improve inmates’ reentry into their communities, increasing opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals and enhancing public safety; and
- $200,000 for the establishment of an office of the state climatologist and $1 million to coordinate and implement strategies for climate change adaptation and preparedness, part of the Governor’s more than $50 million investment in climate change preparedness outlined in January 2014.
The budget also includes $20 million to address the regional opioid epidemic through an emphasis on prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery; as well as $13 million in funding to ensure that non-convicted patients treated at Bridgewater State Hospital receive mental health services in appropriate settings.
Advancing the Governor’s Four Priorities
The FY15 budget reflects the Patrick Administration’s enduring commitment to creating jobs and opportunity in every corner of the Commonwealth, closing the achievement gap in our schools, controlling health care costs and addressing youth violence to support safer communities.
- Investing in Education to Close the Achievement Gap: The FY15 budget provides increased funding for education – from early education through college – to help close achievement gaps and better prepare our young people for academic and career success. These investments include:
- $75 million in increased funding for the Commonwealth’s public universities and colleges;
- $100 million in increased Chapter 70 funding, bringing total Chapter 70 aid to the highest level in state history;
- $24 million in new investments in early education to reduce the waitlist for high-quality early education programs, newly providing access for over 1,700 children in FY15;
- $18.7 million for regional school transportation, for a total of $70 million, the highest level of state investment ever;
- $3 million in increased investments for scholarships for Massachusetts students pursuing higher education, bringing the total investment to $93.6 million;
- $5 million in increased funding for the Special Education Circuit Breaker to cover costs associated with providing special education for students, bringing the total investment to $257 million;
- $3.9 million in increased funding for the Children’s Trust Fund which will provide an additional 1,200 families with home visitation services that support young first-time parents, bringing the total investment to $15.6 million;
- $450,000 in increased funding for Extended Learning time grants for school districts, bringing the total investment to $14.7 million; and
- $6.5 million in salary increases for Child Care Workers at Center-Based providers.
- Investing in Innovation to Create Jobs, Expand Opportunity: The FY15 budget funds a number of initiatives to support job creation in key growth sectors of the state’s economy, including life sciences, manufacturing, local infrastructure and innovation. These investments include:
- $25 million for the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) to provide research grants and accelerator loans to researchers and early-stage companies and support workforce development efforts in the life sciences; and
- $10.4 million in funding to support the tourism industry, with funding dedicated to expanding domestic and international marketing initiatives in emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil.
- Expanding Access to Affordable, Quality Health Care: The FY15 budget makes investments to strengthen the Commonwealth’s national leadership in expanding health care access and improving quality including:
- Funding to support implementation of the first full fiscal year of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The FY15 budget enables more low- income adults to access subsidized coverage through an expanded Medicaid program, and keeps Health Connector coverage for other low-and-moderate income families as affordable as it is today.
- Restoration of coverage of denture benefits for adult MassHealth members; and
- $153 million in additional funding for human service providers, allowing the Administration to make continued progress in implementing Chapter 257.
- Building Stronger, Safer Communities through Positive Youth Development & Youth Violence Prevention: The FY15 budget contains funding for positive youth development and violence prevention programs that will positively impact the lives of young people across the Commonwealth and help build stronger, safer communities. Funding includes:
- $10.2 million for summer jobs for At-Risk Youth;
- $8.2 million for Shannon Grants;
- $4.6 million for the Administration’s Safe and Successful Youth Initiative;
- $4.1 million for Youth-at-Risk Matching Grants;
- $2 million for YouthBuild Grants;
- $1.7 million for After-School/Out-of-School Grants;
- $1.3 million for Youth-Violence Prevention Grants; and
- $200,000 for the School Safety Task Force
Furthering the Patrick Administration’s Efforts to Improve the Way Government Does Business: The FY15 budget includes key reforms proposed by the Patrick Administration, including:
- Information technology reforms, consistent with Governor Patrick’s Executive Order 549, which enhance the role of the Commonwealth’s Chief Information Officer and refashions the current Information Technology Division into a new Massachusetts Office of Information Technology to improve information technology oversight, project selection and implementation. The Administration’s implementation of E.O. 549 has already produced major improvements in how we select and deploy technology solutions for delivering core public services.
- An end to the practice of paying for transportation staff on the capital budget, creating more room for spending capital dollars on better roads, rail and bridges across the Commonwealth.
- The new Interagency Data Services (IDS) model, which will provide authorized agencies with access to targeted information necessary to more effectively detect and prevent fraud, waste and abuse across government programs. This new model has the potential to save the state $20 million annually.
- A new phase of human resource modernization, including the development of Commonwealth Workforce Plans, which will ensure the state is well-positioned to attract and retain a world-class workforce.
The Governor vetoed a limited number of items from the Legislature’s budget totaling $16.1 million in spending. Examples include several earmarks at the Department of Correction, the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, the Department of Conservation and Recreation and other agencies.
The Governor also vetoed or returned for amendment a small number of outside sections, including a section that would have removed the MBTA retirement system and similar entities from the Public Records Law. This veto preserves an important tool to promote a more transparent and open government.
Proposed Supplemental Budget
In conjunction with signing the FY15 budget, Governor Patrick has also filed FY14 year-end supplemental legislation, which proposes creating additional fiscal management tools to ensure that the Commonwealth is well-positioned to capitalize on opportunities and solve problems while maintaining a balanced budget. The proposal allows the Governor to make spending reductions at all Executive agencies, including those that do not report to the Governor, if the Executive Office of Administration and Finance determines that budgeted revenues will be insufficient to meet anticipated expenditures.
Today’s supplemental bill also addresses unfunded needs in FY14, providing $32 million for FY14 snow and ice costs. The bill also appropriates $10 million for implementation of Administration’s Bridgewater State Hospital recommendations, funding additional clinical staff at Bridgewater State Hospital. The supplemental bill allows select prior appropriations to be continued into FY15.