PATRICK/MURRAY ADMINISTRATION APPROVES $89 MILLION SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET
Signed by Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, the bill includes $67.5 million to pay for snow and ice removal costs at the Massachusetts Highway Department and the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Increased costs for fuel and salt and a snowier than normal winter contributed to the additional costs incurred by the state and by contractors. According to the Executive Office of Transportation, this winter was the second most expensive snow and ice removal year, slightly behind 2005.
The mini-budget also includes $355,000 for the Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB), which will use the money to classify incarcerated sex offenders before they complete their sentences. SORB's intention is to classify all offenders before they leave jail or prison so residents can be made aware of potential offenders living in their neighborhoods.
The supplemental budget includes an additional $6 million to address a shortfall facing Regional Transit Authorities (RTA). By providing these one-time supplemental funds, the Patrick/Murray administration is ensuring that local public transportation services vital to residents and to the economy are supported for the remainder of this year. However, continued reforms are necessary to ensure that the services provided by the RTAs can be maintained. Through the Massachusetts Mobility Compact, the administration is committed to working with RTAs to identify opportunities for efficiencies and reforms that will reduce operating costs for fare payers and for the Commonwealth.
Also included in the budget is a one-time state appropriation of $7.3 million to make a final payment for the outstanding balance on the judgment in Jane C. Edmonds v. Elaine L. Chao; funding for collective bargaining agreements; and money to pay for the costs of recent special House elections, including printing ballots and payments to municipalities for extended polling hours; and increased compensation for the leadership of the Joint Committee on Revenue.