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Conservationdrones, The sumatran orangutan conservation program has been collaborating with conservationdrones to protect the sumatran orangutan. In three days of streamlined debate, the Massachusetts House of Representatives took up the proposals offered by the Ways and Means Committee, passed a series of amendments, and finalized its own budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2013. Among the most significant changes, the House Final Budget (House) partially restores funding for Public Health programs—programs which would have been cut by $20 million under the House Ways and Means budget (HWM).
Despite these changes, the basic outlines of the House budget largely mirror the Ways & Means proposal.
Approximately $685 million in temporary revenue—including $400 million from the state Stabilization Fund (the "rainy day" fund). The pie charts below show how this approach to filling the budget gap compares with the Governor's earlier proposal. The House budget does include a significant amount of temporary revenue (colored light blue). In addition, the house relies on $140 million in temporary revenue that was not in the Governor's Budget. The sections that follow analyze the House budget in greater detail, but it is important to keep in mind the bigger fiscal story—which is not just about one year's budget deficit but about the regular deficits that the Commonwealth has been facing for many years now. There are two basic reasons that Massachusetts continues to find itself in a fiscal crisis. The lingering effects of the Great Recession, which has sapped state revenues even as it has increased the number of people relying on core safety net services. The structural budget problems that the state has faced since cutting taxes in the late 1990s. These are some of the broader forces that have shaped the House budget as a whole, and with it the many, specific proposals that we analyze in our various sections (available through the Table of Contents dropdown above).
Note: The FY 2012 Current total includes funding in the GAA plus any supplemental budgets passed during the year. Under the House's final Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 budget proposal, the broad MassBudget category of Education would see an increase of $251.2 million over current FY 2012 levels. Total funding for Education is slightly above the Governor's budget proposal, although distribution among education programs differs across these proposals.
The FY 2013 House budget closely follows the HWM proposal making only two changes to funding for early education and care programs. The table below shows the House proposed appropriation for the three programs in comparison to the Governor's proposal and FY 2012. The House budget also proposes a 25 percent ($200,000) reduction to the Reach Out and Read Program compared to FY 2012.
The House budget breaks from the Governor's Gateway Cities Education Agenda by not including the new $575,000 Gateway Cities Early Literacy Programs line item. Most other accounts within Early Education & Care received small increases or decreases compared to current FY 2012 levels.
Additionally, however, the House budget builds onto the Governor's proposal by adding a provision that guarantees each school district a minimum $40 per pupil increase over their FY 2012 aid allocation. The graph below shows the House distribution of this additional $18.5 million above the Governor's proposal and breaks it out based on wealth using the state's combined measure of local property and income wealth designed for calculating required contributions.
Finally, this statewide year-to-year increase looks somewhat smaller when Education Jobs Fund revenue is built into FY 2012 and FY 2013 amounts. The House budget funds non-Chapter 70 programs for elementary and secondary education at $542.2 million. Programs for English Language Learners in Gateway Cities, for summer English learning camps for students who are not yet fluent in English, funded at $2.6 million. Financial Literacy Programs, for competitive grants that fund high school financial literacy programs, funded at $250,000.
Advanced Placement (AP) STEM funded at $1.8 million to fund a competitive grant program designed to increase participation and success in high school Advanced Placement courses that prepare students for work in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The Governor's budget included funding for two other new initiatives to support schools in gateway cities that were not funded in the House budget—Gateway Cities Student Support Centers and Gateway Cities Early Literacy Programs. The final House budget cuts Adult Basic Education (ABE) by $779,000 from current FY 2012 levels.
Additionally, the House budget shifts the $1.0 million Temporary Emergency Food Assistance line item (7051-0015) into the Emergency Food Assistance Program (2511-0105) as an earmark. The House budget projects a contribution to the School Modernization and Reconstruction Trust (SMART) of $689.4 million, which is higher than current FY 2012 levels but below the Governor's projection.
Starting in FY 2012, all campuses of public higher education began retaining tuition payments from out-of-state students, rather than remitting that revenue back to the state. As with the Governor's proposal, the House proposal includes $49.2 million in collective bargaining accounts that cover labor costs at each of the campuses. The House and Governor's proposals for community colleges differ both in terms of overall funding levels and in terms of policy reforms advanced through the budget.
While the House budget does not replicate the Governor's full governance consolidations, it does include language in Outside Sections that is similar in nature to the Governor's reform package. Requiring the Commissioner of Higher Education to develop a new community college funding formula that is based in part on performance. The House budget proposes $87.6 million for the State Scholarship Program, which is $58,000 above the Governor's FY 2013 proposal and equal to current FY 2012 levels. Among the cuts proposed in the House budget is elimination of the $635,000 Nursing and Allied Health Education Workforce Development program, which helps recruit new nurses. Please see the table below for more information on Higher Education line items funded either in FY 2012 or FY 2013.
During its floor debate, the House added $3.8 million in funding for environment and recreation programs to its Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 budget. The environment budget for the state supports programs that keep the air, water and land clean. An additional $400,000 for the Department of Environmental Protection to a total of $25.3 million. In addition to adding funding to the environment budget, the House also passed a number of amendments that provided earmarks to particular programs. State fish and game programs include Massachusetts fisheries, wildlife habitats and other natural sites in the state.
The state's parks and recreation budget supports state parks, urban parks, beaches, pools, spray pools and the employees who work at these facilities. Two small increases in funding including an additional $50,000 for the Office of Dam Safety and $5,000 for lighting for DCR parkways.
Increased funding over the FY 2012 current budget for beaches, pools and seasonal employees working at DCR facilities by $845,000 to $12.5 million. Increased funding for DCR administrative account by almost $467,000 above the FY 2012 budget level of $3.3 million. An infrastructure fund to provide loans and grants to communities to for flood control projects including dams, seawalls and retaining walls.
While overall FY 2013 spending on health programs rises compared to FY 2012 in the final House budget, the increase is not spread evenly across programs—spending on MassHealth and other health reform programs that provide health coverage to low-income people increases, largely as a result of enrollment growth and health inflation, and funding for mental health programs rises at about the rate of inflation, although the increase does not come close to restoring the funding that mental health programs have lost since FY 2009. The bulk of spending in this category goes to pay for MassHealth programs that provide health coverage for over 1.3 million people in Massachusetts (including Medicaid, which covers nursing home and other care for the elderly).
An increase of $30 million for supplemental rates for nursing homes, and language earmarking $2.8 million of these funds for a MassHealth Nursing Facility Pay-for-Performance Program that provides grants for initiatives that involve nursing home staff in quality improvement efforts. An increase of $500 million for a new MassHealth Operations line item, bringing total proposed funding to $1.0 million in the final House budget.
Language requiring HHS to contract for an analysis of children with complex care needs in the MassHealth program that makes recommendations for serving such children within MassHealth's Medical Home Initiative. HWM Committee budget documents suggested that the initial HWM budget proposal relied on the same set of savings strategies that the Governor assumed in his House 2 budget proposal. The CCTF receives transfers from the state's General Fund, as well as revenue from a portion of the cigarette tax, from assessments on certain employers who do not provide insurance and from penalties paid by people who can afford insurance but do not purchase it.
A transfer of $186.9 million from the General Fund to a new Delivery System Transformation Initiatives (DSTI) Trust Fund that will provide incentive payments, in accordance with the state's MassHealth waiver agreement with the federal government, to providers for activities that support the development of new payment and health delivery systems, such as better management of chronic conditions and medical home infrastructures at seven safety net hospitals.
An authorization for the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy to spend $2.0 million from federal reimbursement funds in order to move management of Health Safety Net claims for uncompensated care to MassHealth.
A slight decrease in funding for the Prescription Advantage program, which reflects reduced utilization of the program due to changes made by the federal health reform law that will provide increased Medicare coverage for costs that are now covered by the Prescription Advantage program. Language (also included in the Governor's budget) that would allow the administration to restructure MassHealth benefits. The final House budget provides an increase of $5.0 million for Information Technology (IT) services at HHS agencies (this funding goes to other agencies besides MassHealth and the Division of Health Care Finance). During its budget debate the House approved amendments that raised overall spending on Department of Mental Health (DMH) programs by $9.2 million and added language governing the use of funds. Language requiring that the FY 2012 level of funding for jail diversion programs in municipalities that provide equal or matching funds from public or private sources be maintained in FY 2013. Increased funding for DMH hospitals and, in apparent response to concern over the proposed closure of Taunton State Hospital, new language requiring DMH to maintain capacity for 30 inpatient beds in southeastern Massachusetts and establishing a special commission to review and evaluate state's inpatient mental health care system. The final budget appropriation levels for individual line items are generally very close to those contained in the Governor's spending plan, with one exception.
Finally, in addition to language added to the DMH facilities line item during debate (see above) the final House budget also includes provisions that set criteria for moving DMH clients from in-patient facilities to residential services in the community (for instance, clients must be deemed clinically suited to receive care in the community), and includes language requiring that clients transferred to a new DMH facility due to closure of another facility receive a level of care equal to or better than that received at the closed facility. During debate of the FY 2013 budget the House approved an additional $15.2 million for public health programs.
During budget debate the House restored funding for a family intervention and treatment program for young adults with substance abuse problems, which the HWM budget proposed to eliminate in FY 2013, and also added $2.0 million to the appropriation for step-down recovery services. A separate Substance Abuse Services Fund that was created in order to fund an expansion of treatment facilities and case management for people who have been civilly committed and have substance abuse disorders received a $10.0 million transfer from the General Fund in FY 2012. Also approved during budget debate was an increase of $250,000 for smoking cessation programs, which the HWM budget had level funded. During debate the House added $500,000 to the HIV prevention and treatment line item, bringing funding for this program to the same levels as both FY 2012 and the Governor's FY 2013 budget proposal. During debate the House added $990,800 to the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention account, and added language naming the disease programs that receive funding (there are no actual earmarks, however). Other amendments restored $69,000 in funding for a newborn hearing screening program, the same level that the Governor proposed, added $200,000 for school-based health programs, along with language allowing the use of funds in non-public schools, and also added language allowing domestic violence funds to be used for class-room based programs on this issue. During budget debate the House approved an additional $200,000 for family health services, which include family planning services and HIV counseling and testing.
During budget debate the House approved an additional $500,000 for a violence prevention grant program within the Department of Public Health, bringing total FY 2013 funding to $1.5 million. During budget debate the House increased funding for DPH hospitals by $4.3 million, bringing the proposed FY 2013 appropriation to the same level as that proposed by the Governor. During debate of the FY 2013 budget, the House approved an amendment adding $95 million to the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) line item that funds health insurance premium and plan costs for GIC members. The final House budget proposes total funding of $1.3 billion for the state share of health benefits provided to active and retired state employees, as well as a group of retired municipal teachers, through the Group Insurance Commission (GIC).
Most funding for state employee health costs comes in the form of an appropriation for the costs of current employees, plus a transfer from the General Fund to the State Retiree Benefits Trust Fund that supports the cost of health coverage for retired employees. During budget debate, the House reduced the amount that they HWM budget had proposed to transfer from the General Fund to the State Retiree Benefits Trust Fund (SRBTF) by $20 million, due to lower estimates of the costs of retiree health insurance.
1MassBudget includes funding for youth violence prevention programs under the Executive Office of Health and Human Services along with other Department of Public Health programs. Although there were numerous proposals to amend the House Ways and Means (HWM) budget proposal, relatively little new funding was added to human services programs which form a crucial part of the Commonwealth's "safety net" for the state's most vulnerable residents. The House makes no funding changes to the HWM's budget proposal for Children Youth and Family programs. The House also adds two earmarks to Services for Children and Families that were present in the FY 2009 final budget. The House proposes a commission be formed studying and making recommendations concerning services for unaccompanied homeless youth age 22 and under. The House upheld the most significant decrease eliminating funding for regional and central administration. No changes were made during floor debate to the budget for the Department of Youth Services (DYS). Like the Governor, the House includes $2.1 million in a new line item to provide state funding in the Department of Youth Services for an alternative lock up program. The House budget proposal does not follow the Governor's recommendation to fund a data-sharing initiative among the agencies providing services to children, youth and families. During floor debate, the House added only a small amount to the HWM budget proposal for services for people with disabilities.


Compared to other human services, funding for services for the disabled fared relatively well in the House budget. The House budget directs new funding to the Department of Developmental Services, increasing funding above both the FY 2012 current funding total and the Governor's budget recommendation. The House also increases funding for services for young developmentally disabled adults Turning 22 in FY 2013. The budget proposal from the House for community day and work services is $2.5 million less than the Governor's proposal. For adults with other types of disabilities, the House budget essentially maintains current funding levels, but these levels do not necessarily keep pace with inflation or anticipated need. House amendments resulted in an increase in funding of just over $1.1 million for elder services. House amendments resulted in a small increase in funding for transitional assistance services compared to the HWM budget proposal. Although the budget moved through amendments with startling speed, one of the most contentious debates on the house floor concerned the use of Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards. For entitlement programs like transitional assistance, funding levels are significantly affected by anticipated caseload levels. The City of Milwaukie has annual audits performed by an independent auditing firm in accordance with municipal audit law. Municipal audit law requires an annual financial statement audit of all municipal corporations. Founded in 1891, Seattle Pacific University is a leading Christian university that equips people to engage the culture and change the world.
It also allocates additional money for Law & Public Safety, Mental Health, and Environment & Recreation. Much of that revenue was also in the Governor's plan, including $400 million from the "rainy day" fund and $45 million from the deferral of a corporate tax break. For instance, even though MassHealth is slated to receive a 4.8% increase in funding for FY 2013, this is nearly $300 million less than would be required for the program to continue as is.
On top of the maintenance increases specified in the state funding formula, the House Budget guarantees each school district a minimum $40 per pupil increase over FY 2012. Those tax cuts and other declines in tax receipts over the last fifteen years cost the state over $3 billion in annual revenue. Of this total, $12.6 million was the result of House amendments to the initial House Ways and Means (HWM) budget proposal, with this additional funding spread pretty evenly across several accounts. Of the House budget's proposed increase, $163.8 million comes as new Chapter 70 education aid, most of which is driven by state law, but part of which results from a new $40 per pupil minimum increase provision not included in the Governor's budget. Access for new income-eligible families has been closed for most of FY 2012 and the House proposal will continue to exclude new families for FY 2013. The program would target professional development to family child care providers and other family members. It is worth noting that even small increases in nominal terms are often insufficient to keep pace with inflation and are tantamount to a cut. 2 This partial phase-in results in a little more than $10 million in additional Chapter 70 aid for these districts.
This added minimum increase provision results in an extra $18.5 million for Chapter 70 aid over the Governor's proposal. For this analysis we cluster all Massachusetts districts into five wealth quintiles, with least wealthy communities on the left-hand side ("Lowest 20%") and the most wealthy communities on the right ("Highest 20%).
The Education Jobs Fund is a federal stimulus program that provided money to Massachusetts schools for use in FY 2011, FY 2012, and the first quarter of FY 2013—money that was distributed through the Chapter 70 formula.
The House budget provides funding for a few new programs, cuts some programs, and provides level-funding or modest increases to a few others. Federal law provides that homeless students living in temporary housing outside of a city or town where the family lived prior to becoming homeless may choose to remain enrolled in the school district of origin. The Governor proposed funding these grants at an additional $1.0 million over the House proposal. The Governor proposed rolling Bay State Reading into Literacy Programs, and total funding for all three was also level under the Governor's proposal. The initial HWM budget proposed $2.0 million in funding, but this cut was reversed through a House floor amendment. Please see the table at the top of this Education section for a full listing of items that received additional funding through these House floor amendments.
The additional funding in FY 2013 is driven mostly by costs faced by the colleges and universities to pay for salary adjustments set by recent collective bargaining agreements. MassBudget adjusts upwards the campus allocations by these projected amounts so that one can compare reasonably the level of resources available at an individual campus to that of previous years when this tuition was remitted to the state. While this spending shows up in separate reserve accounts, where possible MassBudget builds these dollars into campus totals in order to reflect more accurately the level of state budget resources being used to run these campuses ($5.7 million for line item 1599-4419 goes towards a bargaining unit covering both state universities and community colleges and cannot be broken out across these two types of campuses).
The Governor proposed significant changes to the state's community college system, centralizing budget and leadership control over community colleges under the Board of Higher Education (BHE). Language instructs that workforce development goals be among the performance metrics included. House budget language includes an earmark stating that no less than $5.0 million of this account be spent on community college initiatives aimed at improving completion rates, promoting the adoption of more standard course offerings, and consolidating and coordinating administrative procedures across the campuses. Additionally, during floor debate the House added $75,000 to the UMass line item, with this full increase offset by a new $75,000 earmark for the Clemente Course in the Humanities, which provides college-level humanities courses to low-income adults. This table includes tuition retention adjustments for each of the campus line items, but separates out collective bargaining accounts in the first three rows. It includes funding to clean hazardous waste sites, support recycling and redemption centers to reduce waste going to landfills and to support environmental police. This amount is $231,000 more than the Governor's FY 2013 proposal and is $641,000 more than the FY 2012 current budget.
Even with this increase, funding for cleaning up hazardous waste sites has fallen by 25.8 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars since the onset of the fiscal crisis. This is about $500,000 more than the current budget and in line with the Governor's FY 2013 proposal. The amendment states that this increase will be provided to cover the cost of transfer a parcel of state land to the town of Halifax. The House budget requires that all beaches, pools and spray pools be open and staffed from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The House budget is $350,000 less than the amount proposed in the Governor's FY 2013 budget.
Meanwhile, spending on health insurance for state employees declines slightly, and although the House approved amendments restoring a significant portion of the funding for public health programs that was cut in the initial HWM budget, final proposed FY 2013 spending remains lower than FY 2012, and well below FY 2009 levels. The House also approved amendments that add a variety of provisions governing MassHealth funding and other aspects of the MassHealth program. Another significant portion is transferred to the CCTF and used to support the Commonwealth Care program that provide coverage to about 175,000 people with incomes above the cut-off for MassHealth coverage. The increase brings funding for supplemental rates to $318.5 million, the same level included in the FY 2012 budget, using funds that were carried over from FY 2011 (the FY 2012 budget also contained similar earmark language).
This difference is largely due to the adoption of the nursing home rate and fee-for-service appropriation increases during House debate; aside from these line items the final House budget for MassHealth is largely identical to the Governor's FY 2013 spending plan. These resources are used to pay for the Commonwealth Care insurance program for low-income people who are not eligible for MassHealth.
Like the Governor's plan the final House budget does not include restoration of adult dental benefits for MassHealth and Commonwealth Care enrollees.
The Governor proposed an increase of $18.6 million for these services, an amount that is estimated to be necessary to cover the costs of maintaining existing HHS IT systems in FY 2013.
When considering increases to individual mental health line items, it is necessary to keep in mind that the FY 2012 budget included the one-time use of contributions from mental health trust funds to support many of these programs. Many of these amendments restored funding that the HWM budget cut compared to FY 2012 (and compared to the Governor's proposed FY 2013 budget); some amendments provided increases for line items that received level funding in the initial HWM budget that will help these programs keep pace with inflation (for further details, see the table and discussion below). Beyond these basic functions, more than half of DPH state budget funding goes to programs that promote health and wellness and prevent disease in specific populations. These two programs receive funding in the final House budget that is level compared to FY 2012 and the Governor's budget. While neither the final House or Governor's budget includes an additional transfer in FY 2013, statutory language governing the Fund allows spending from it through the end of FY 2013, at which point it will sunset. The final House appropriation for FY 2013 is slightly higher than the FY 2012 funding level. The House also added $100,000 to HWM's initial $1.8 million appropriation for Youth at Risk grants, along with language specifying that programs get an amount of funding that is no less than what they received in FY 2012.
The Governor's budget assumed a shift of $1.5 million in costs to the State Police Crime Laboratory line item, and while the House budget provides no information on such a shift, outside sections of the HWM budget indicate similar plans to consolidate DPH lab work with state police crime lab.
This funding levels represents an increase of 3.6 percent over current FY 2012 spending in this area. This entire increase will be used to cover the added costs of covering employees of municipalities that have exercised the option to provide health coverage through the GIC. As with the other state health insurance programs such as MassHealth and Commonwealth Care, the state has employed a number of strategies to hold down cost increases in recent years, and plans to continue these strategies in FY 2013. As the table above shows, funding for active and retired employee health costs appears to decline substantially compared to FY 2013. We also adjust for certain transfers of funding to other departments (see line item chart for more detail). Even though there are more children receiving kinship-based care and support than those in out-of-home placements, family support funding has historically lagged well behind funding for out-of-home care. The Governor had proposed $3.0 million for this initiative within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, but the House does not include this funding. Nevertheless, even with the House proposed increase in funding levels, there is concern that the Commonwealth's budget for persons with disabilities is not able to keep pace with the anticipated need for services felt by the growing numbers of young adults leaving special education and needing extensive support services in the community.
The House does not follow the Governor's recommendation to incorporate funding for transportation for the developmentally disabled into the community day and work services line item. However, the House includes a separate line item for $400,000 in funding for the final year of the Rolland Court Monitor. The Congregate Housing Program received a $107,000 increase over HWM and now matches FY 2012 funding of $1.7 million.
HWM had put back in $1.5 million that had been cut by the Governor's budget proposal, preventing what could have resulted in the loss of 240,000 free or reduced-price meals for elders. The Employment Service Program receives a $1 million increase over HWM also resulting in a $1 million increase over both FY 2012 and the Governor's proposal.
The full House budget uses language introduced in the HWM budget restricting the use of EBT cards for a number of products and services. The House budget for Transitional Assistance for Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) grants, and for the other cash assistance programs assumes a slight drop in caseload in FY 2013. The Secretary of State Audits Division, in cooperation with the Board of Accountancy, and in consultation with the Oregon Society of CPAs, prescribes the minimum standards for the presentation of the report and the conduct of the audits. Click image to get bigger picture, and if you find Uav Symposium 2013 interesting, you might pin it to Pinterest.
Part of what made these small increases possible were new, lower insurance rates for Commonwealth Care and state retiree health care. And for that reason, both stand in contrast to the Governor's proposal, which included temporary revenue as well as new, ongoing revenue from taxes. The House budget relies on new savings initiatives to fill this gap without cutting MassHealth services.
Please see the table below for a full listing of items that received additional funding through these House floor amendments. The House proposal includes $11.3 million for a new Homeless Student Transportation line item, which is not funded by the Governor. For the third year running the Governor proposed consolidation of these categories, which would empower the Department of Early Education & Care (EEC) to transfer money across these accounts at will. The waitlist for Low-Income Child Care, already over 30,000 families, will likely continue to grow in FY 2013. Reach Out and Read promotes early literacy and school readiness by partnering with doctors to give out free books and encourage families to read together.
This program is administered by the Executive Office of Education and therefore does not show up within the MassBudget subcategory of Early Education & Care.
Fully phasing in effort reduction for these communities, bringing their required contributions down to their targets, would cost roughly an additional $110 million in Chapter 70 aid. While increasing education aid statewide will help offset cuts of recent years, spending this additional money through a minimum increase across-the-board raises distributional concerns.
As the graph shows, the House budget's minimum $40 per pupil increase provision distributes more of this money to higher-wealth districts than to lower-wealth ones.
House floor amendments added $8.3 million to the HWM proposal, with this additional funding spread across 14 accounts.
For more detail please see the comprehensive line item table at the end of this subcategory. The federal law requires that transportation be provided so that students can continue attending the school district of origin, and this new line item, not included in the Governor's budget, would help reimburse host and sending school districts for these transportation-related costs.


The program would begin with a 3 year pilot in 10 public high schools, with participation in the pilot limited to schools in gateway cities.
Without adjusting for inflation, the real value of funding for these programs continues to decline.
Each year the Commonwealth is required to contribute to this trust an amount equal to one out of every 6.25 cents brought in through the state sales tax.
The FY 2013 House budget represents an inflation-adjusted cut of 14 percent from pre-recession levels (FY 2009 GAA). The Governor's consolidation of funding for the state's 15 community colleges into one Massachusetts Community Colleges line item was coupled with an additional $10.4 million in funds for FY 2013 that is not included in the House proposal. Since current FY 2012 language also includes a $1.0 million contribution from MEFA, total resources under the House budget are right in line with those currently available for FY 2012. Since municipalities reimburse the GIC fully for these costs, MassBudget adjusts the spending totals presented here to remove these costs, bringing the total spending added to the House budget during debate to $69.7 million.
Proposed spending on MassHealth and Health Reform programs totals $12.65 billion in the final House budget, an amount that is slightly less than the amount the Governor proposed. Enrollment in these programs has risen steadily during the recent economic crisis, and more than one in five people in Massachusetts now depend on them for health coverage.
The spending increases and language adopted during House budget debate will reduce projected savings by around $22.8 million, although the increases are offset by a reduction in funding for the CCTF (see below). Cuts since 2009 have affected programs that support education, employment, and clubhouse programs, as well as reducing beds at DMH facilities. Language in the FY 2012 budget specifically allowed use of the trust funds for in-patient or community services and authorized transfers of funds to the adult services and DMH facilities line items.
While the House added $200,000 to the initial HWM plan to level fund this program, final House funding remains well below the Governor's proposal.
However, the adopted amendments do not fully restore the $20.5 million in cuts from FY 2012 public health spending proposed in the HWM budget. However the House did not restore funding, also cut in the HWM budget, for a jail diversion program for non-violent offenders with addiction problems. Any additional ongoing costs related to the expansion will need to be included in future budgets. The Governor provided a slight increase for these programs and used $51.2 million in new revenue from a proposed elimination of the sales tax exemption for soda and candy to help fund them.
The Governor's budget also proposed level funding for these programs, which include cancer screening, cardiovascular risk education, and care coordination for high-risk populations.
The initial HWM appropriation was expected to cover the cost of maintaining the program; the increase approved during debate may help support a rate increase for providers. Thus we assume a similar transfer for the purpose of comparing funding levels between the HWM and Governor's budget plans; after taking this shift into account the proposed appropriation represents level funding compared to FY 2012.
The final House budget also includes an increase in the amount of federal revenue that the Western Massachusetts Hospital can retain for its own budget.
Because these costs are fully reimbursed by the municipalities and do not require the use of state resources, MassBudget removes them from calculations of state budget spending.
The difference between the House FY 2013 budget and the Governor's spending plan for this area is the result of updated enrollment and cost projections; the HWM budget also includes language requiring an audit of beneficiaries claimed as dependents of state employees who are eligible for GIC coverage. Funding for vulnerable children and families, already severely below pre-recession levels receives no increase in funding while transitional assistance, disability services, and elderly services receive very slight increases over the HWM budget proposal. Serving on the commission will be commissioners from multiple state agencies, members of the Senate and House, youth advocates, and three youth who have experienced homelessness. In these two accounts, the difference between the House proposal and the Governor's proposal is the amount added in FY 2012 by supplemental funding added in October that was intended to restore funding for positions for social workers that were cut in FY 2011.
Current federal law restricts police departments from holding juveniles for more than six hours, and in any case many police department facilities do not have appropriate holding areas for children.
Independent Living Assistance and the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing also receive increases of less than 1 percent over the HWM budget with the latter now matching the Governor's proposal.
The Administration has repeatedly stated a commitment to community-based services, but some of the line items funding community-based supports for persons with disabilities have been cut substantially over the past few years, even with a shift in funding away from the state-run institutions.
For many families with disabled children, the respite program is the only source of support for afterschool recreational programming or for specialized caregiving.
Even with this increase, however, funding is still 27 percent below pre-recession funding levels. According to the Administration, funding for community residential supports is sufficient to provide full residential funding for the young adults entering into the developmental services system, meaning that it should be sufficient to maintain current services for the anticipated FY 2013 caseload. The full House added funding to Councils on Aging, bringing the total to a small increase over both the FY 2012 current total and the Governor's proposal. Even with the increase, this program has been cut 72.6 percent in inflation adjusted dollars since FY 2009. The House places new restrictions on where EBT cards can be used to access cash assistance.
But as our fuller analysis shows, it also has the effect of making the funding formula more regressive. Conversely, the House budget does not fund two of the Governor's proposed new K-12 grant programs for schools in Gateway Cities. The House budget keeps the categories distinct, maintaining current procedures that require EEC to provide documentation to the House and Senate Ways and Means committees 30 days before making any transfer. Because this is an entitlement program, funds will need to be added during the year if there is a shortfall.
The Chapter 70 formula is designed to consider varying needs of different student populations and the varying ability of cities and towns to raise local tax revenue.
The initial HWM budget proposed a deeper cut, but a House floor amendment restored some funding. The House proposals combined represent a 15 percent cut from FY 2009 GAA inflation-adjusted funding levels.
Both the House and the Governor's budgets project increases in sales tax receipts due to anticipated economic recovery during FY 2013. Cuts are even deeper when looked at over the last decade, with proposed FY 2013 funding representing a 30 percent cut from FY 2001.
The Governor also called for community colleges to focus more specifically on job training and seeks to standardize the system statewide, easing the process of transferring credits across campuses.
At the same time, the House also approved reductions in budget transfers to the Commonwealth Care Trust Fund (CCTF) and the State Retiree Benefits Trust Fund totaling $73.7 million, due to new lower projections for the programs paid for by these funds. Other spending in this category supports safety net hospitals, helps elderly and disabled people pay for prescription drugs and funds activities of the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy. The availability of the trust funds meant that the budget appropriations for the line items were lower in FY 2012 than they would have been if the $10 million in trust funds had flowed more directly through them, and conversely the FY 2013 increases for these programs appear larger. The Governor provided $2.0 million for this program in his budget, the same amount it received in FY 2012. While some disease prevention activities may now be covered by health insurers, particularly as more Massachusetts residents have gained coverage under the state's health reform law, it is clear that these programs have been hit especially hard in recent years. However the final House budget eliminates a "Safe and Successful Youth Initiative" (contained in a separate Health and Human Services line item) that provides youth violence prevention grants targeted to high-risk communities.
The House also reduced the amount that will be transferred from the General Fund to the State Retiree Benefits Trust Fund, in accordance with new, lower projections for retiree health insurance costs. In most instances, FY 2013 funding is essentially level with FY 2012, with several important programs experiencing significant cuts, and others barely staying level with FY 2012 when considering the impacts of inflation. A report to the Governor will be due March 2013 outlining recommendations for better serving these youth. The Governor's budget had included these amounts in order to fully-fund these restored positions for the full year.
The Administration does not anticipate a significant change in departmental caseload in FY 2013, but these increases over FY 2012 funding levels will support an across-agency initiative to standardize provider rates for the various human service agencies.
This funding will allow for the Department to manage funding for the four existing community-based secure and appropriate placements for children awaiting arraignment. Adults with disabilities seeking employment are particularly hard hit by ongoing funding reductions in services. Although this is a significant increase in funding for these community-based supports, funding in the House budget still does not restore the respite program to pre-recession funding levels. The Turning 22 line item supports the entry of young developmentally disabled adults into the adult service system from the special education system, and constraints on this funding limit the number of adults who will receive services as well as the services that they will receive in the future.
The availability of transportation is one of the key determinants of whether a disabled adult is able to maintain employment or take part in community activities. The House also builds on budget increases for community-based long term care services for elders.
The Department of Transitional Assistance administration and Caseworker Salaries and Benefits also receive increases over the HWM budget proposal, but are still less than the Governor's proposal.
Two significant additions to the House budget are the restoration of the clothing allowance to $150 and the rent allowance of $40. The House budget proposes some governance reforms to the community college system that are similar to, yet not as comprehensive as, reforms proposed in the Governor's budget. The House also adjusts how programs qualify to be a Universal Pre-Kindergarten Program utilizing the Department of Early Education and Care's (EEC) Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) standards adopted in December 2010. This could be accomplished through a transfer from the Low-Income Child Care program or through a legislative increase. Across-the-board increases do not account for these wide variations in communities across the Commonwealth. The Governor's projection is $9.8 million higher, however, because of his proposed elimination of the sales tax exemption for candy and soda. Most of the spending in this category is eligible for federal reimbursement, generally at a rate of 50 percent of the state's spending.
After accounting for the use of trust funds, the overall increase for these three line items is about 3.9 percent compared to FY 2012. The funding level proposed in the final House budget would bring that decline to 18.4 percent.
The latter program received $10.0 million in funding for FY 2012 in a supplemental budget, and the same level of funding in the Governor's proposed FY 2013 budget. The House budget does not appear to adopt the Governor's proposal to use $4.0 million from trust fund balances to pay for wellness and smoking cessation programs for state employees.
The share will increase by increments of ten percentage points each year, until 2022, when 100 percent of the payment will go into the fund.
Notwithstanding budget changes, the amendment which resulted in the most contentious debate concerned the eligible uses of cash assistance benefits on Electronic Benefit Cards (EBT). Even though these line items are funded less than in the Governor's proposal, the increase over FY 2012 funding should allow the department to begin implementing a statewide initiative to standardize and increase human service provider rates across various departments, including a rate increase for foster care providers. Previously, these federal grants had been managed by the Executive Office of Public Safety.
Funding levels are higher compared to both the FY 2012 current funding levels and the Governor's budget proposal. The clothing allowance, a one-time payment made in September to help pay for back-to-school clothing, was reduced in the HWM budget to $75. For more information on how the Chapter 70 formula works, please see Demystifying the Chapter 70 Formula, available HERE. The House budget recommends spending $10.9 million less than the Governor's FY 2013 budget. This funding is expected to be adequate to cover enrollment growth, including the reinstatement of legal immigrants following a state Supreme Judicial Court decision that found the state's exclusion of this group unconstitutional. When these three programs are taken together, funding in the final House budget is $9.3 million lower than the level proposed by the Governor. In addition, 5 percent of any future capital gains revenue beyond $1 billion will also be deposited in the fund (other capital gains revenue beyond this limit will go into the Stabilization, or Rainy Day, Fund). The House places significant restrictions on how participants can use their cash assistance benefits. These home care services, which include a wide variety of supports such as homemakers and transportation assistance help keep the Commonwealth's frail elders in their homes as long as possible. ABE has been cut significantly over the past few years, with the House final proposal representing 10.1 percent cut from FY 2009 GAA inflation-adjusted levels. The Connector is expected to have sufficient funds for the planned enhancement of the smoking cessation benefit for Commonwealth Care members. In both cases these new revenues will help reduce the unfunded liability related to future health benefits promised to state employees. Participants would no longer be able to use their EBT cards for such things as hiring a lawyer to defend against an eviction or for purchasing makeup for a job interview.
Even with the increases, however, because of anticipated increasing need, the Commonwealth will still need to maintain wait lists for services.
Under the new policy, DCF must implement new regulations reducing these wait times and will have to submit quarterly reports to the chairs of the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities showing how long clients had to wait for fair hearings, appeals and decisions.



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