Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick last week released additional details of how he plans to close an estimated $600 million revenue shortfall in the fiscal 2010 budget, opting to retain local aid allocations totaling $936 million.
Other programs that will not be cut include more than $4 billion for Chapter 70 education aid and $970 million for state colleges and universities.
"We should be just as concerned about our commitment to our values as we are about the value of our commitments," Patrick said in a statement."
"Those values — creating good jobs at good wages, offering a world-class education to our kids, delivering quality, affordable health care to our residents, protecting and supporting the most vulnerable — those are the values to which we as a commonwealth are committed," he said. "So as I meet my statutory responsibility to bring the budget in line, I do so according to my moral responsibility to those values."
To offset under-performing revenues, the governor said executive branch agencies would find $277 million of savings and seek $75 million in cuts to non-executive branch agencies, such as the legislature, the judiciary, and sheriff and district attorney offices.
State officials will also work on contract negotiations with union leaders to reduce workforce costs and help alleviate additional layoffs.
The state could face up to 2,000 layoffs in fiscal 2010 after lawmakers cut 1,400 positions earlier this year. Patrick called for a second round of furloughs, with senior managers to take up to nine furlough days.
In addition, a tax amnesty program is estimated to bring in $20 million and officials will use $82 million of anticipated departmental revenue.
Massachusetts ended fiscal 2009 with a surplus of $60 million, which Patrick will now use to help close the mid-year budget gap.