Mass. Gov. Patrick reduces state budget proposal

June 8, 2010

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BOSTON—Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is reducing his proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 by more than $608 million, even as he expressed hope the new round of cuts would not be needed.

Patrick said he revised the spending plan down because federal officials have yet to extend money to the states for Medicaid costs.

Patrick had assumed the extension when he released his version of the budget earlier this year.

The governor said he still believes the extension will be granted, pointing out that the U.S. House and Senate separately approved it and President Obama built the extension into his budget.

If that doesn't happen, Patrick is recommending the $608 million cut be spread across the state budget, except for local aid, school aid and state debt service which would be left untouched.

He said that translates into about a 3.6 percent reduction in spending.

"I am all too aware of the significant impact the recession has already had on people, their families and their businesses throughout the commonwealth," Patrick said in an letter to House and Senate leaders Tuesday.

"But I believe an across-the-board reduction is the most equitable and the most sensible under all the circumstances," he added.

Patrick is also asking lawmakers to give those members of his administration in charge of state agencies the authority to transfer money between individual line items -- a move the Legislature has traditionally resisted.

Patrick is also asking that his original budget stand as he originally intended if the federal money is approved.

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