Supplemental Budget Filed for Job Creation and Storm Recovery Efforts
BOSTON - Thursday, August 25, 2011 -- Governor Deval Patrick today will file a supplemental budget bill that directs surplus funds towards investments in job creation, tornado recovery efforts and safety net programs, while bolstering the state's rainy day fund to make it one of the largest in the nation.
"Thanks to our strong fiscal management, Massachusetts is leading the nation in economic recovery, and these investments will create jobs to keep that momentum going," said Governor Patrick. "These funds will also help cities and towns recover from this summer's tornadoes, while making an investment in our future preparedness by strengthening the rainy day fund."
The Commonwealth is closing out the FY11 fiscal year with an estimated surplus of $460 million, thanks to the Patrick-Murray Administration's record of strong fiscal management and tax revenue collections that exceeded budget revenue.
"This supplemental budget makes fiscally responsible investments in infrastructure and innovation, while protecting critical public safety net programs," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "Through this bill, we are also continuing our commitment to strong fiscal management by making a significant investment into our stabilization fund."
The legislation directs meaningful job related investments in the following areas:
• Workforce Training -- investments to prepare the workforce of tomorrow through health care workforce training, summer jobs programs, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiatives, and Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language programs. The health care workforce training fund will help our health care workforce transition to the new delivery system proposed by the Governor in his health care cost containment reform legislation.
• Infrastructure -- invests $35 million in shovel-ready MassWorks projects to create up to 1,000 jobs in communities across the state, and invests $10 million to leverage $44 million in federal grants for low-income housing tax credits.
• Innovation -- strategic investments in those sectors that offer the greatest potential for growth in the Massachusetts economy, especially in high technology innovation clusters, and access to capital for our small to mid-sized businesses.
The bill commits $10 million to cities and towns impacted by the June 1 tornadoes for costs not reimbursed through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This is in addition to the $15 million in emergency funding provided by the June supplemental budget. The bill also provides $6.2 million to reimburse cities and towns for a portion of the costs incurred in responding to the December 2008 ice storm.
A significant portion of the surplus will be put back into the state's rainy day fund. The $300 million investment will bring the total of the stabilization fund to more than $1 billion, ensuring that reserves are available to maintain critical programs and services should the state face challenges in the future.
A limited portion of surplus funds will also be used to address cuts in health and human service programs that impact the state's most vulnerable populations. The bill restores the fall clothing allowance provided to low-income families receiving temporary assistance, and supports programs for at-risk children, and other public health functions.
The legislation also commits $500,000 to fund the Commonwealth Corps, an important civic engagement initiative which addresses unmet community needs.