|Fiscal Affairs Division|
|January 23, 2002|
To the People of Massachusetts:
After a decade of unprecedented economic expansion, we find ourselves in the midst of fiscal uncertainty. Like many families, state government must focus on its core responsibilities and plan carefully to manage with fewer resources. Fiscal Year 2003 poses challenges that while unforeseen just a year ago, present opportunities for creative, thoughtful leadership.
Fiscal responsibility is our first and best strategy. It is what allows government to meet societys most pressing needs over the long term; it provides a cushion for the tough times; and it builds a strong foundation for future growth. We must have a tax structure that is competitive and attractive to businesses that provide our people good jobs with decent wages, and we must have a rate of spending growth that we can sustain even when times are bad.
My priorities, set forth in this budget, are:
Economic security: Ensuring our fiscal stability by controlling state spending growth and maintaining a competitive tax structure.
Education and Workforce Development: Continuing our strong commitment to a lifelong learning process by investing in K-12 and adult education, a major factor that keeps our Commonwealth competitive in a global economy.
Public Safety: Providing our citizens with safe, secure neighborhoods and the ability to travel without fear.
Targeted Assistance: Guaranteeing that resources will be available to those who need them most.
Unlike our last economic downturn, we are well prepared to weather the fiscal storm that we are facing. Controlled spending growth, healthy reserves, a more diversified economy, and key investments in our Commonwealths infrastructure have created a solid economic foundation that will keep us from the crisis we faced only a decade ago. This budget recommendation totals $23.5 billion, a 2.7% increase above projected Fiscal Year 2002 spending. It holds all but the most critical state programs to last years spending levels or less.
By staying true to our values, Massachusetts will emerge from these uncertain times stronger and better prepared for tomorrows challenges.
|Very Truly Yours,|
A Note from the Secretary
of Administration and Finance
How much do you know about our state budget?
If the answer is not very much, youre not alone: Most people arent familiar with the budget. One reason is that state budgetsin Massachusetts and elsewheretend to be written in a way that only accountants can understand. And even if you are an accountant, few people have the time to sift through hundreds of pages of numbers.
This year, as part of Governor Swifts first budget recommendation, we thought wed try to do better. The first chapter of the budget recommendation has been redesigned to give you more useful, concise information about the budget, and some important information about the Massachusetts economy.
Understanding the state budget is, after all, very important. The budget is a plan for how state government uses your moneyhow it will pay for its services and activities, and how it will spend it. Next year, your state government will spend over $23.5 billion, or almost $3,700 for every man, woman, and child in Massachusetts. Most of that money will come from taxes on individuals like you and me.
As youll see in the following pages, state funds are used for a wide variety of vitally important activities that affect all of us, each day. To give you a flavor of some of the things state government does, here are a few examples. Last year, in 2001:
MassHealth, our state health insurance program for low- and moderate- income residents, provided health insurance to almost 1 million residents, more than 40% of whom were children.
Over 500,000 students participated in the MCAS testing process. Among 10th grade test-takers, 73 percent earned their competency determination on their first try. The state distributed $40 million in MCAS remediation assistance to school districts.
The Senior Pharmacy program in Massachusetts, our nation's first state-funded prescription drug insurance plan for seniors had more than 70,000 enrollees since its creation in April 2001.
The Department of Mental Health served close to 27,000 adults, adolescents and children in the state through inpatient and community-based services.
The Department of Mental Retardation provided services to more than 29,700 individuals, including assistance in job placement, transportation, residential services, monitoring, and care.
The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife managed over 120,000 acres of conservation land, all of which was available free of charge to the public for recreational purposes.
And those are just a handful of the things our state government does. If you have any questions about the budget, please dont hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Stephen P. Crosby|