Please see below trhe video to read Governor Patrick’s remarks today regarding the budget cuts. You can also watch a video the Governor recorded for all state employees today here:
As you all know, the economic downturn has hit the Commonwealth hard. Every individual, every family, every not-for-profit agency, and every business in our Commonwealth is facing challenges and uncertainty the likes of which many have never seen.
State government has not been spared. In October, because of declining tax receipts, we announced a budget shortfall of $1.4 billion. As the problem deepened, we announced in January a further budget shortfall of $1.1 billion. We met these challenges by cutting nearly $1.3 billionin spending, reducing the state workforce by 1,000 positions in FY09, using $527 million in rainy day funds, and proposing other solves for legislative action.
Unfortunately, tax revenues have continued to deteriorate. The Secretary of Administration and Finance has identified a further shortfall of$156 million since January. We will close this gap immediately through the following executive measures.
(In the order they appear on the chart)
· First, through cuts and controls, we’ll eliminate $16 million in spending. This will include additional cuts to my office’s budget, on top of the cuts we made last October.
- We will impose hiring caps, resulting in the elimination of 750 positions.
- We are imposing a 3 to 5 day furlough program — between now and the end of June — for state managers. This will save $4.5 million dollars, while preserving important state services and programs. The LG and I will take 5-day furloughs as well.
- I want to acknowledge that some state employees, in particular at HHS, have already participated in an agency-wide furlough program since October. I want to thank them for their sacrifice, and assure them that today’s initiative will not result in a double-furlough for you. If you took the required 3 or 5 unpaid days already this fiscal year, no further furloughs are required.
- Finally, we will use $38 million in federal grants and $90 million in flexible federal recovery funds.
We believe that the situation may deteriorate further before the end of this fiscal year. In the weeks ahead, we are concerned that we may face an additional budget gap in the range of $400 million. We have a number of ideas to address this further potential gap. They require legislative action. We will be working with the Legislative leadership and the other constitutional officers to develop and take action on these solutions.
I have also directed Secretary Kirwan to immediately open discussions with labor unions for various concessions or other solutions to help us meet our budget responsibilities. My goal is to find a way, through shared sacrifice, to preserve as many jobs as possible and as high a level of service as possible while we weather this economic storm.
As we make the cuts we have to make, we remain committed to and focused on our long-term objectives: meeting the challenge, even in these times, to make Massachusetts competitive and to spread opportunity in the 21st century economy. That’s why we have protected education, student financial aid and job growth programs. That’s why we have tried so hard to minimize cuts to health and human service programs. Strong schools, healthy people and a skilled workforce will enable us to capitalize on opportunities in biotech, clean energy, health care, high tech and smart manufacturing. This will be our path out of this recession into a strong and secure economic future. Hard as these choices are today, I am confident they will help assure better tomorrows.
I want to close with a special word to the good people who work in state government. I know that, like working people all across this Commonwealth, many of you and your families are already struggling to hold on and that today’s announcement will add to your anxiety. Unfortunately, we have no easy options. I want you to know that I appreciate you and the extraordinary work you do every day on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth. If you lean on each other and work with me, if give me your ideas and good counsel just as you give the public your dedicated service, we will get through this together and state government will be the better for it.