| BOSTON, July 9
BOSTON, July 9 Massachusetts Governor Deval
Patrick on Sunday signed a $32.5 billion state budget for
fiscal 2013 that boosted funds for education, including
community colleges, and projected savings in health care costs.
The budget, for the year that started July 1, marked a move
away from years of austerity. In fiscal 2012 Patrick slashed
spending by $750 million, the biggest year-on-year cut in two
The roughly 4 percent increase in the budget reflects a rate
of growth less than the assumed 4.5 percent increase in state
tax revenue collections for the year.
The second-term Democratic governor termed Massachusetts'
economic recovery "ongoing, not complete".
The ratings agency Standard and Poor's in 2011 upgraded the
state's credit rating to AA+, the highest rating in the state's
history. Proactive budget management was cited as a key factor.
Patrick said the higher rating has allowed the
administration to continue investing in schools, roads, bridges
and public facilities to accelerate a long-term recovery.
The budget assumes savings of about $700 million in health
care costs through changes to payment and delivery models used
by MassHealth, the state's version of Medicaid, and "competitive
procurement strategies" by the Health Connector Authority, the
agency which oversees the state's universal health care program.
Patrick signed a new program for $2.25 million in grants to
community colleges, partly to establish worker training programs
specifically requested by employers.
The budget also funds aid to communities in the state at
$5.32 billion, up 3.7 percent on the year.