(Editor's note: The following information was submitted by the office of State Rep. Jim Miceli, D-Wilmington.)
joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts General Court in passing a state budget for fiscal 2013 after negotiators struck a compromise that increases funding for local aid, keeping Taunton Hospital open, and making some reforms to the state’s welfare and immigrant verification systems.
The budget directs $5.7 billion in state revenues back to cities and towns for spending at the local level, almost $289 million more than the current fiscal year.
By including no new taxes or fees, Rep. Miceli and the House once again showed his commitment to the citizens of his district and Commonwealth. With sound management, there is also a significant investment in Local Aid to help lessen the burden of the recession on municipalities.
Rep. Miceli was instrumental in obtaining increased funding to benefit the public hospitals including Tewksbury State Hospital. Public Health Hospitals will be receiving a budget increase of $6 million.
“The Tewksbury Hospital has always provided the ultimate in care for our constituents and is one of the leading employers in the area,” said Rep. Miceli.
Rep. Miceli also authored an amendment which is included in the FY’13 budget that calls for an increase of $150,000 to be used for the Wilmington Cancer Comprehensive Study that is studying the exposure routes and patterns of contaminants in the Maple Meadowbrook Aquifer which affected the Wilmington drinking water supply.
“To make sure that the funding is there to help complete the study regarding the occurrence of childhood cancer is of the utmost importance in helping to defeat this insidious disease.”
“Once again, keeping our hospital well funded and viable is one of my priorities as Tewksbury and Wilmington’s representative.”
Spending highlights compared to FY12 GAA
- $20M salary reserve for Human Service Providers.
- Preserves the Adult Day Health program by retaining the full 6 hour day.
- Circuit Breaker (reimburses communities for "extraordinary special education costs) grew $28.8M or 13.5%, to $241.9M.
- Regional School Transportation grew $2M (5%) to $45.5M.
- Funded a new line item for Homeless Student School Transportation (McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 is a United States federal law that provides federal money for homeless shelter programs) at $11.3M.
- Increases funding to Regional Transit Authorities by $3.5M above the FY 12 budget.
- $97.8M for the elder home care program.
- Increases Adult Family Supports programs at DDS by $8.5M.
- Increase to the public housing authorities of $2M.
In addition, the budget also provides the tools needed to seek out fraud, waste and abuse in state funded programs. The budget restricts or bans the use of EBT (Electronic Benefit) cards for alcoholic beverages, lottery tickets, tobacco, sexual performances and materials, firearms and ammunition; vacation services, tattoos or body art, jewelry; fees, fines or penalties including restitution or bail or bail bonds and gambling. Any business that accepts EBT cards will have a signage requirement that will include DTA’s 1-800 number to report fraud and businesses must have a list of banned goods by category available at each cash register. Further fraud prevention in the areas of auto registration and identification fraud will require a tax ID or SS# to register a car and will increase penalties for businesses and persons that knowingly employ drivers who are unlicensed or not properly licensed.
Gov. Deval Patrick will have 10 days to review the bill, sign it and return sections of it with vetoes or amendments. Earlier this week, the House and Senate passed and the governor signed a $1.25 billion interim budget to provide state government with funds to operate through July 10. The new fiscal year began Sunday July 1.