Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who is seeking re-election in November, proposed a $28.2 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 that counts on President Barack Obama to deliver more financial aid.
Patrick, a Democrat elected in 2006, assumes that Congress will extend increased Medicaid reimbursements, generating an additional $600 million to help balance the state budget he unveiled today. The governor said he “spoke with the White House yesterday” about its effort to get legislation passed to continue higher federal support for state spending on the health insurance system for low-income people.
“This is a very reasonable assumption,” the governor said at a press briefing at the State House in Boston today. Without federal help and other new revenue and budget cuts, the state faces a $2.7 billion deficit in the fiscal year starting July 1, he said.
The $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that Congress approved a year ago included at least $126.5 billion for states to boost Medicaid and education spending, according to estimates from the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The funding expires at the end of this year and the U.S. House already tried to extend some of the support by passing health care and jobs bills.
Patrick joins at least one other state leader balancing a budget on the hope Obama and Congress deliver more aid. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger assumed in his $82.9 billion spending plan this month an additional $7 billion of federal support, including $1.2 billion from extending the increase in Medicaid reimbursements....MORE