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Civic Engagement Initiatives
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FY2010 House 1 Budget Recommendation:
Deval L. Patrick, Governor
Timothy P. Murray, Lt. Governor
Civic Engagement initiatives in the fiscal year 2010 budget fall into three main categories:
Access and Opportunity
The Patrick-Murray Administration remains committed to the principles of equal opportunity and non-discrimination in all facets of Executive Branch operations. The Administration's Access and Opportunity effort, executed through the office of the new Administration and Finance Assistant Secretary for Access and Opportunity, is about people, procurement and policy, and embraces the challenge to achieve success in spite of fewer resources. One key example of this can be seen in the efforts to enhance the Commonwealth's relationship with women and minority-owned businesses.
Starting in the current fiscal year and accelerating pace in the next, the State Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance (SOMWBA) has reduced the time it takes for a business to become certified by over twenty-five percent. This improvement has been accomplished through the intelligent application of technology. In reducing certification time, SOMWBA has been able to enhance these businesses' access to government contracts, while at the same time redeploying the agency's human resources to more productive, client-focused activities. In the upcoming fiscal year, SOMWBA will expand the use of technology to better meet the needs of certified businesses while also creating pathways for success of such businesses in the private marketplace.
In fiscal year 2010, the Administration's Access and Opportunity efforts will reach across state government to improve how we make real the promise of equal opportunity and non-discrimination in all facets of our work. For more information, please visit the Access and Opportunity website at http://www.mass.gov/ANF/oao.
The Commonwealth Corps is one of the signature Civic Engagement initiatives of the Patrick-Murray Administration; its purpose is to facilitate intensive, direct service to rebuild Massachusetts' communities and address their unmet needs. As of January 2009, over 250 Corps members are serving communities across Massachusetts, tutoring students, mentoring youth, helping patients and elders receive health information, improving community spaces, staffing crisis hotlines and providing many other valuable services.
While the Commonwealth Corps remains a top priority for the Governor, the Administration recognizes that many other valuable programs are being asked to tighten their belts and that there must be shared sacrifice. Accordingly, the Governor has removed $1 million in Commonwealth Corps funding for fiscal year 2010 (a 33% reduction), following $640,000 in fiscal year 2009 emergency budget reductions.
The program's line-item has also been moved from the Governor's Office to the Department of Workforce Development under the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, so that it can be coordinated with similar programs, including the Summer Jobs Program for At-Risk Youth and an existing $750,000 grant for the Massachusetts Service Alliance, which operates the Commonwealth Corps. This move will create management efficiencies and enhance our opportunities for applying for federal support.
Increasing Budget Transparency
Through the course of this Administration and included in the fiscal year 2010 budget recommendation, there have also been a number of efforts to increase the transparency of the Commonwealth's budget and the availability of other fiscal information.
- To promote civic engagement and public participation, Executive Branch departments were provided with new guidance for conducting budget development hearings in the fall of 2008. Each Cabinet Secretary was encouraged to hold at least two budget hearings; at least one of these was to be held outside of the metropolitan Boston area, and at least one was to be at a time of day convenient for the general public to attend (i.e., outside the traditional 9-to-5 business day). Over 500 people attended these hearings in August and September.
- For the first time, the Governor's budget website included information about mid-year reductions made through the Governor's statutory authority under M.G.L. Chapter 29 Section 9C in October; reductions can be easily viewed at the line-item level and compared to historical budgets and expenditures. For more information, see http://www.mass.gov/bb/gaa/fy2009/.
- The Commonwealth's capital budget was published online for the first time, in a searchable and accessible format matching that of the Commonwealth's operating budget. More information about the capital budget has been made available than ever before, and the capital budget can now be viewed by funding source, investment category, spending agency and beneficiary agency. For more information, see www.mass.gov/capital
Finally, this budget includes two efforts to improve the transparency of the Commonwealth's tax expenditures:
- Outside Section 12 requires public disclosure of the results of refundable or transferable tax credit programs, including reporting of the number of jobs created, by taxpayers who receive the credits and by state agencies that administer the programs. Part (F)(4) of the outside section lists specific credits and the relevant information to be reported for each.
- The online presentation of the Commonwealth's tax expenditure budget has also been improved. New functionality for aggregating and disaggregating the various categories of tax expenditures makes it easier for readers to analyze and understand the information presented.
Prepared by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance · Rooms 373 & 272 · State House
For more information contact:
Ron Marlow, Lincoln Heineman, and Jennifer Hewitt
(firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org)
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