Gov, Deval Patrick on Monday signed Massachusetts’ $30.6 billion budget, 11 days into the new fiscal year.
The legislature was scheduled to vote on it during the afternoon.
Patrick vetoed none of the spending in the budget that lawmakers sent to him on July 1, but cut 16 outside budget sections relating to prescription drug waste and reviews of small-business health insurance rates.
Patrick’s budget includes limits to unions’ collective bargaining powers in municipal health care. It also enables municipalities to unilaterally increase health plan co-payments and deductibles after a 30-day bargaining period.
The Democratic governor said the moves will help cities and towns curb rising insurance costs.
The new budget amounts to about $750 million less than projected expenditures in fiscal 2011. The state used $185 million from its stabilization, or rainy-day, fund, but that fund still has a balance of $585 million. Officials hope to replenish it.
Massachusetts’ maintenance of the rainy-day fund prompted Standard & Poor’s in February to upgrade its outlook on Massachusetts’ AA general obligation rating to positive from stable.
“This rating has allowed the administration to continue making critical investments in our schools, roads and bridges, and housing stick,” Patrick said in a statement Monday.
The budget, he said, “reflects tough decisions and sacrifice across state government along with a demonstrated commitment to doing business better.”
Moody’s Investors Service rates Massachusetts GOs Aa1 and Fitch Ratings has assigned its AA-plus rating.
Jay Gonzalez, Patrick’s secretary of administration and finance, said Monday that a planned $65 million cut in local aid that had been included in the budget will not take effect due to spending reversions that officials anticipate.
Cost-saving measures since October 2008, such as the elimination of 6,000 jobs, have helped Patrick and the legislature close a $14 billion budget gap, the governor said.