MassBudget’s analysis is out and it’s not good. Those who suspected the film tax credit pre-budget release as a choreographed distraction had our biggest fears reinforced.
Charlie Baker’s budget is shaping up to be draconian, in pushing for an enormous hit in staffing, areas where we all know are not adequately staffed now and going to the hit with highly skilled senior staff leaving without replacement. Baker has targeting a reduction of 4500 staff with layoffs if the early retirement program does not get his intended results.
the budget counts on $178 million in savings from an early retirement program. To achieve this savings the state would have to leave unfilled most of the positions of people who take the early retirement option.
Here’s the money quote:
we have seen how understaffing has undermined the ability of the Department of Children and Families to protect children at risk of abuse or neglect. While many workers in that department may not be eligible for this early retirement, it is a reminder that real people can be harmed when important public functions are not adequately staffed.
MassBudget also highlighted the shell game that Charlie is playing with the budget numbers, they are shown in a way that appears that a great many areas will be level funding, but they won’t if his “plan” is successful
If the early retirement plan does produce savings, then there will be significant cuts across state government that are not being shown in the appropriations in the House 1 proposal. The savings from early retirement are presented as separate from line item appropriations. But if the savings are achieved, it will mean that actual spending in a number of parts of government will be much less than what is shown in the budget.
Still not enough information on the Baker administration plans on MassHealth re-determination process. Baker is desperate to squeeze out dollars, that in itself should at least give everyone pause. Because finding ways to take people off the rolls in not usually a governor’s priority. If you think how Republicans removed voters during elections, similar issues arose in the re-determinations, change of address, hard to understand paper work and language barriers have been used against those who should be covered by are taken off the rolls and in many cases people never knew until they had a medical emergency. Also, how is Baker planning on identifying, is he looking to use an outside agency like Maximus.?
A lot more questions there, but at this point it does appear that these little games is what we have to look forward to from the governor’s office.