Massachusetts FY 2013 Budget: Education Priorities for a Healthier Future

Deltek Analyst Evan Halperin reports.

On Jan. 23, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick delivered his State of the Commonwealth address to a full house chamber. Governor Patrick spoke of the great accomplishments from the previous year while pressing that Massachusetts could do even better. With the right formula of spending and cuts, and the full support of the state senate and house, Massachusetts could improve in several fundamental areas over the next year. Fiscal year 2011 and 2012 budgets showed overall commonwealth spending was steady at $53 billion. Both years included budget cuts in order to remain afloat during the recession. Since FY 2011, fiscal conditions in Massachusetts have improved some, though not to pre-recession levels.

The budget from FY 2011 was significantly lower than recent state budgets; the current budget for FY 2013 represents a 0.39 percent increase from one year ago, but a 6.17 percent increase from two years ago. As the commonwealth moved to fifth place in the nation for job creation in the past two years, the added tax revenue and improving economic prospects more than likely enabled the governor to increase the overall budget.

The verticals that increased the most from FY 2012 were health care, public finance, higher education and transportation. Of these verticals, only higher education was among the largest gainers over the past three years. Another vertical that saw one of the more significant increases was health care, something that Governor Patrick mentioned repeatedly during his address. With increased health care costs throughout the country, it was almost inevitable that costs would rise in Massachusetts. In particular, Medicaid costs have soared, and with many of the new health care laws moving forward, there will be increased costs for records and technology.

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