FY2012 House 1 Budget Recommendation:
Issues in Brief
Deval L. Patrick, Governor
Timothy P. Murray, Lt. Governor
The Patrick-Murray Administration continues its commitment to transparency in its fiscal year 2012 budget recommendation. In recognition of this commitment, for the third year in a row the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association. This national recognition reflects that the Commonwealth has produced a budget document that serves as a policy document, operations guide, financial plan and communications device to promote our best practices to the public.
This year, the Administration is continuing its commitment to transparency and to engage residents in a meaningful conversation regarding the state’s budget by launching several websites aimed at giving residents an unprecedented view of state spending.
The Massachusetts Recovery and Reinvestment Office (MA RRO) has provided $6.6 billion of federal stimulus funds to Massachusetts individuals and businesses, helping the Commonwealth to be among the leaders in the nation in recovery from the economic downturn. Recognizing that residents want to follow the progress of recovery, and often “follow the dollars” to their hometown or a specific vendor, the MA RRO has launched its recovery website, www.mass.gov/recovery that provides detailed information on federal stimulus spending throughout the state, including the amount awarded and spent. Residents can search for spending information by municipality, and funding category. The site also highlights the number of jobs attributed to stimulus funds, and can read about projects and programs that stimulus funds are supporting.
On January 1, 2011, the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, working in collaboration with Treasurer Grossman, launched the first phase of a statewide transparency website, www.mass.gov/transparency. Residents are able to view state spending and revenue information, including trends over the past several years, and breakdowns of major categories. The site also provides access to information on state laws and regulations, and can review the Commonwealth’s annual financial reports. The site lists all state payments to cities and towns, and gives residents information on how to connect with their local and state legislators. This first-phase launch is intended to provide information in one place so that residents can understand more about how state government works. Future phases will include:
In addition to increasing transparency through web technology, the fiscal year 2012 budget document includes all of the same components that increase residents’ understanding of the Commonwealth’s annual budget, including:
Each year, the House 1 recommendation includes sections that propose new laws or make amendments to existing statute. Because they often contain technical legal language, these “outside sections” can be difficult for residents to interpret; therefore, in the 2012 House 1 recommendation, the Patrick-Murray Administration continues to include reader-friendly descriptions of each section.
Once again the Patrick-Murray Administration has included a User’s Guide in its budget recommendation that helps readers navigate the sections of the document. The Guide outlines the information contained within the budget, explains how a reader can locate a particular budget item, and describes how to interpret the information they find.
Prepared by Katie Luddy, Executive Office for Administration and Finance ·
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