House Passes Balanced FY ’12 Budget

-By Phil Orlandella

Joining his colleagues in the Massachusetts House, State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz helped pass a balanced FY ’12 budget aimed at increasing government efficiency, cutting costs and preserving essential services throughout the state.

The budget, which passed with bipartisan support, closes a projected $1.9 billion budget gap through cuts to state spending totaling $1.2 billion, according to a prepared release from the representative’s office.

However, crucial programs in Rep. Michlewitz’s Third Suffolk District were either saved or funding was recuperated from initial cuts that were proposed.

“These programs touch a wide variety of groups in my district and will improve the quality of life for scores of people.” Said Rep. Michlewitz. “From senior citizens to people trying to get the skills they need to get a job, this budget seeks to safeguard the most vulnerable needs.”

The House budget also includes a cost-saving municipal employee health care reform measure, which would save at least $100 million annually for cities and towns, according to a number of recent studies. Under the proposal, municipal workers would pay no more in co-payments and deductibles than those paid by subscribers to the largest plan offered by the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) which provides health insurance to state workers and legislators.

“With this budget, we are getting the most value we can from limited state dollars and striving to implement sensible reforms that protect taxpayers,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said, “In difficult times like these, we’ve produced a budget that protects essential services and shields our neediest residents while brining new efficiencies and cost savings to state government.”

“This cost-saving measure will allow cities and towns to rein in healthcare costs with as little pain as possible to people’s jobs and their quality of life.” Said Rep. Michlewitz.