Spilka release highlights aspects of $30.9B spending plan including Gift of Life Act
By | Hopkinton Patch
BOSTON – The state legislature Friday passed a $30.59 billion spending plan for fiscal 2012 aimed at making government more efficienct, cutting costs and keeping essential services, according to a press release from state Sen. Karen Spilka’s office.
The bill now goes to Gov. Deval Patrick for his signature. He has 10 days to sign it or veto items with which he disagrees and return it to the legislature.
Spilka an Ashland Democrat whose district includes Hopkinton, said she was pleased with the budget and noted what a difficult time it has been for states across the country. Fiscal 2012 began Friday.
The budget has no new taxes, and cuts most services while retaining some aspects of those services.
Spilka's Gift of Life Act, creating a $10,000 tax deduction for state residents who donate an organ while living, made the final budget. Spilka said the law would raise awareness for living organ donations, and help those in need of a transplant to receive an organ in a shorter period of time.
Spilka’s office offered budget highlights, some of which include:
1. $500,000 for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education grants
2. A 10 percent increase for funding for state Veterans Outreach Centers and Veterans homeless shelters – including $15,000 for the Vietnam Moving Wall Exhibit in MetroWest
3. $2 million in funding for a new State Police Class
On the policy side, some items Spilka highlighted are:
1. Incentives for communities and unions to reduce the cost of health care.
2. A plan to make state-grant activity more open and transparent
3. Three plans to recover state overpayments in grants, health care and to vendors.
The budget marks the smallest year-to-year spending increase in the past decade.
It also leaves a stabilization fund of $800 million, an amount greater than the start of fiscal 2011