Administration Defends Spending Priorities

By Frannie Carr

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Jan. 26, 2012
 
BOSTON — A day after releasing a $32.3 billion state budget proposal for the next fiscal year, the Deval Patrick administration is defending its spending priorities. The headline? It's another challenging budget year.
 
If the average Massachusetts resident is tired of hearing that one, Jay Gonzalez, the state’s secretary of administration and finance, said he can relate.
 
"I’m sick of hearing it too. I want to be secretary of administration and finance someday when we have more money and can do more stuff," he said.

 


 
The governor’s proposal increases the state budget by about 3 percent. Gonzalez said all that growth was due to a handful of fixed “cost-drivers.”
 
"Our health care costs are going up, there’s continued growth and demand on our safety net programs and there are certain fixed costs like our debt service costs and pension and collective bargaining increases that we’re legally obligated to pay," he said. "That means there’s some tough decisions the governor’s had to make."
 
Among the cuts are the elimination of least 300 state jobs, closing the Bay State Correctional Facility in Norfolk and a reduction to programs designed to assist the families of people with intellectual disabilities.
 
In the coming months, the Mass. House and Senate will release and merge their own budget proposals before sending a final product back to Patrick for approval. The new fiscal year begins on Jul. 1. 

Hear more comments from Gonzalez.
 
WATCH: Patrick talks about the budget on "Greater Boston."



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