Governor Deval Patrick today signed a $169 million supplemental budget bill that provides significant investments in job creation projects across the Commonwealth and delivers $65 million in local aid to cities and towns. The Commonwealth is also directing $712 million in surplus resources to bring the state's rainy day fund balance to nearly $1.4 billion -- the third largest balance in the nation.
"These investments will create jobs, protect local aid and help the Commonwealth build on its already strong credit rating," said Governor Patrick. "By making these wise investments, we can ensure that Massachusetts continues to recover from the global recession faster and stronger than most states."
The legislation directs $39 million to support MassWorks Infrastructure Program and other infrastructure projects to create hundreds of jobs and economic development opportunities in communities across the state. The bill also provides funding to address cuts in health and human services programs that impact the state's most vulnerable populations.
"Our Administration worked with the state legislature to deliver additional local aid for cities and towns that will support police and fire services, infrastructure improvements and road repairs, as well as other municipal services," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.
This final supplemental budget to close out FY11 results in a total FY11 rainy day fund deposit of $712 million, bringing the year-end balance to nearly $1.4 billion -- more than twice the balance at the close of Fiscal Year 2010. In September, Standard and Poor's (S&P) upgraded the credit rating for Massachusetts to AA+ from AA, signaling a strong vote of confidence in the management of the state's fiscal affairs. The state presently has ratings of Aa1 from Moody's and AA+ from Fitch. Taken together, this set of ratings gives Massachusetts its highest credit standing in history.
"Reinvesting in our stabilization fund will help keep our state on a strong financial footing," said House Speaker Robert DeLeo. "This supplemental budget targets funds at job creation and local priorities, those most in need and those whose lives have been disrupted by storms."
"This spending plan allocates funding to a number of critical state and local initiatives," said Senator Stephen Brewer, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. "There is funding in this budget that will directly help our cities and towns, some of which have been impacted by devastating natural disasters. We are closing a gap left by difficult cuts and giving additional aid to communities looking to rebuild and recover. In addition to making some smart spending decisions, we have also committed to increasing our stabilization to plan for our future fiscal health."
"It was important that the state remain committed to a strong fiscal position when addressing this supplemental spending bill," said Representative Brian Dempsey, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman. "That is why directing surplus funds toward our rainy day account, providing additional local aid support to cities and towns, and only addressing the most severe recent budget cuts was the top priority."
Other funding items in the bill include:
* $10 million to cities and towns impacted by the June 1 tornadoes for costs not reimbursed through the Federal Emergency Management Agency;
* $6.2 million to reimburse cities and towns for a portion of the costs incurred in responding to the December 2008 ice storm;
* $9.5 million to support affordable housing projects;
* $3 million for Adult Basic Education programs administered by the state's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; and
* $850,000 for adult immunization efforts and vaccines.