To the People of Massachusetts:
Lieutenant Governor Murray and I are proud to file our budget recommendations for fiscal year 2012. This budget reflects our collective values and makes investments in critical areas that will help us strengthen our economy in the near-term, position us for a strong recovery in the long-term and help us continue to change the way government does business.
Four years ago, we began working together for an economy based on innovation and opportunity, for better schools and universal health care, and for better politics. In spite of some set backs caused by the recession, we have moved forward on many of our goals. We have positioned Massachusetts to recover stronger and faster than many other states.
Still, people are struggling. As we continue to dig out of the economic storm, just like families across the Commonwealth, we have re-worked our budget by taking a fresh look at our plans, stiffening our resolve, and making tough choices. Our fiscal position is strong when compared to other states, but like every other state in the Nation, we are faced with unprecedented challenges in FY 2012.
As with each budget we have submitted – and those we have revised amid unprecedented global economic challenges – our fiscal year 2012 budget is guided by an important set of principles. We need to be smarter about the way we fund, or don’t fund, government programs. We will use this budget as a vehicle to implement stronger reforms to state government.
We chose to invest in education, in health care, and in job creation, because we all know that educating our kids, being able to count on quality, accessible health care, and having a job is the path to a better future. We have invested in new ideas to work to get health care costs under control, to grow jobs, to continue to close the achievement gap in our schools and to help end urban violence. By making these choices based on our guiding principles, we are building a better future for all of us.
We will also continue to improve the way our government serves people. We are filing legislation with the budget to further reform our pension system, to give cities and towns more tools to cut their costs, and to reshape both our criminal justice system that needs to regain the public’s confidence and sentencing laws that need coherence.
There are many difficult choices we were forced to make to balance this budget. But in the long run, these choices allow us to be responsible to future generations.
More jobs. Stronger schools for all our children. Affordable and accessible health care. Safer neighborhoods. That’s the work of our second term, and it starts with filing this budget. Through optimism and effort, I am confident that our best days lie ahead.
Deval L. Patrick