Weekly Political Report – Week Ending February 4, 2011

Week Ending February 4, 2011

Reacting to Governor Patrick’s proposed FY2012 budget released last
week, Speaker DeLeo (D – Winthrop) reiterated that the House version of
the FY2012 budget would contain no new taxes, fees or other
revenue-generating measures, and would not include budget gimmicks. The
House is expected to release its FY2012 budget in April. Both the
Speaker and Senate President Murray (D – Plymouth) stated before the
start of this legislative session that they would not raise taxes this
year. Although the Governor did not raise any taxes in his budget, some
are arguing that his budget would increase the tax burden by including
an expansion of the state bottle bill, which would add a $.05 deposit to
the cost of water, tea and juice bottles. Speaker DeLeo on Monday called
the bill another form of taxation since it would raise state revenues by
$20 million.

On Wednesday, Governor Patrick met with Secretary of Health and Human
Services JudyAnn Bigby, Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay
Gonzales and other cabinet officials to discuss reforms of the state’s
health care payment system. In his inaugural address Governor Patrick
promised to cut $1 billion in health care spending in the coming fiscal
year. Included in the budget his Administration released last week were
a variety of proposals for cutting health care costs by $1 billion, $798
million of which would come from cuts to MassHealth. Patrick’s proposals
included procurement reform, capitation cost controls, benefit
reductions and provider reimbursement reductions. Because of the lack of
detail in the Governor’s proposals, stakeholder groups such as the
Massachusetts Association of Health Care Plans and Health Care for All
have been cautious in their response.

On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue released the tax
collection figures for the month of January.  The state collected $2.053
billion during this period, an increase of 11.3% from the same period
one year earlier. According to Navjeet Bal, the state revenue
commissioner, income tax estimated payments are also up $239 million or
25% over the first seven months of the fiscal year.  Although tax
receipts continue to exceed expectations, many of the unexpected revenue
has been funneled back towards two midyear spending bills, one for $750
million that has been approved by the legislature and another for $311
million that the Governor submitted last week.

John Nunnari, Assoc AIA
Executive Director, AIA MA
jnunnari@architects.org <mailto:afienman@architects.org>
617-951-1433 x263
617-951-0845 (fax)

MA Chapter of American Institute of Architects
The Architects Building
52 Broad Street, Boston MA 02109-4301
http://www.architects.org <http://www.architects.org/&gt;

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