Some Key Points
– Over the past two years, the Massachusetts Legislature has underfunded state programs by more than $3 billion per year (compared to what would be required to maintain services).
– Programs in health care, public health, education, and environmental protection have been eliminated or seriously impacted.
– Because of the state aid cuts, property taxes and fees are on the rise.
– The burden of the cuts falls primarily upon people of low or moderate incomes.
– Many of the cuts are not cost effective – they create increased expenses for local governments,for private citizens, and for businesses.
Note: The exact numbers describing the impacts of budget cuts change frequently. Some figures are only the best estimates for impacts that have not yet been fully implemented. Hence the figures presented should be viewed as indicators of the seriousness of the cuts, not as exact or final impacts.
Health Care Cuts
MassHealth and CommonHealth
— About 10,000 legally present immigrants lost MassHealth coverage on August 1.
— CommonHealth, which serves disabled and unemployed people, and Family Assistance, will cap enrollment as soon as September 1. 4,000 people will lose coverage.
— 125 people will lose MassHealth coverage due to changes in the HIV waiver program.
— MassHealth clients 19 to 65 who have $6,000 or more in assets will be dropped from coverage. 1,500 people may lose coverage.
— The administration has new powers to define who is “disabled”. 2,500 people are expected to lose coverage.
— Health studies estimate that18,000 people are now dying in Massachusetts each year because of lack of access to insurance.
Children’s Health Care
— The Children’s Medical Security Plan (CMSP), which provides health insurance to 26,000 children not eligible for MassHealth, will be cut by 14%, more than $3 million below maintenance needs. Currently, the CMSP has a waiting list
of 6,000 children, and the average length of wait is 71 days.
— As of December 2002, CMSP no longer provides Emergency Room services, ambulance service, or inpatient hospital care as part of the “free care pool”.
— Emergency room and hospital care is provided through the state’s “free care pool”, which is dangerously in debt.
— More children need residential care from the Department of Social Services (DSS). However, the Group Care account is estimated to be $6 million short of what’s needed.
— 50 social workers at DSS may lose their jobs.
— 130 more DSS social workers are needed, as the caseload has grown by 1,400 families.
— The Office of Child Care Services has been cut $6.7 million. 19,235 children are on the waiting list for childcare subsidies.
— The Department of Youth Services (DYS) is $3 million short of maintenance funds, which could result in loss of beds.
School Health and Children’s Health Education
— The Health Protection Fund (HPF), funded by a voter-approved excise tax on tobacco products, funds school health education for children, families, teachers, and staff. The HPF program funded nursing, food and nutrition services, guidance counseling, mental health services, health education, and tobacco education/cessation programs. The 2003 budget completely eliminated this program.
— As of June 2003, 73% of all school-based health centers said they have lost services, cut back hours, or closed altogether. More nurses, mental health workers, and family planning/STD workers are expected to lose their jobs, and 20% of clinics will have to reduce their hours.
— After the 2003 cuts, 640 less students were seen at school health clinics.
— 19 school-based health centers (27%) have closed entirely.
— The Mass. Department of Public Health predicts the cuts will prevent 33,000 children from receiving school-based health care.
— On January 1, 2003, Gov. Romney cut 38% of the funding for school nursing programs. Over 500 school nurses have been fired, and funding for school nurses has been eliminated in 109 school districts.
Public Health Cuts
— The Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program, created to reduce costs of tobacco-related illnesses through education and prevention, was only appropriated $2.5 million in FY04 (In 2002, it received $48.5 million).
— Where tobacco control funding has been eliminated, illegal sales to minors has gone from 9 to 30% (More than a 300% increase).
Family Health, Nutrition and Assistance Programs
— Family health programs have been cut 59% this year.
— 9,000 families face reductions in services.
— The Women, Infants, and Children’s Nutrition Program (WIC) is cut by $486,000, which may prevent 642 women, infants and children from getting nutrition services.
Preventative and Screening Programs
— These programs have been cut 80% from the 2001 levels. Osteoporosis, Renal Disease, and Multiple Sclerosis Education and Prevention programs have been eliminated.
–Cuts have closed clinics that treated 4,000 people with sexually transmitted diseases, and eliminated vaccinations for 8,000 people at risk of hepatitis B and 211,000 at risk of influenza.
— AIDS/HIV prevention and treatment programs have been cut by $7.3 million this year, despite an increase in AIDS/HIV rates.
Family Planning Programs
— More than 900,000 women in the state are in need of contraceptive and family planning services. Family planning funding has been cut 65% for FY04. Some results of this cut:
— Over 28,700 women are estimated to lose confidential medical services, birth control education and supplies, and screening for sexually transmitted diseases.
— Teen pregnancies and infant mortality will increase.
— 52 family planning clinics will be forced to close.
Teen Pregnancy Services
— The Teen Challenge Fund, Massachusetts’ only directly-funded teen pregnancy prevention program, provides prevention services, health insurance, family support, health education and comprehensive reproductive health services. Since FY 2001, the Fund has been cut by 82%.
— The Teen Challenge Fund will close 15 out of 17 community programs.
— 25,000 at-risk youth will face service reductions.
— 85 youth programs will close immediately.
Rape Crisis, Sexual Assault, and Domestic Violence Programs
— Rape Crisis and sexual assault services have been cut 75%.
— 13 of 18 Rape Crisis Centers are expected to close.
— 15 staff members statewide must take care of: 13,400 hotline calls, 12,400 client sessions, and 1,350 group sessions.
— The only statewide Spanish hotline for rape and sexual assault victims, Llamanos y Hablemos, will be eliminated.
— All outreach and education for Spanish-speaking communities will be eliminated
— Domestic violence prevention is cut $888,000.
— Many beds for substance abuse treatment have been eliminated throughout the state, and emergency rooms report increases in overdoses and substance abuse related deaths.
— Substance abuse prevention and treatment programs have been cut 10% and residential rehabilitation and ambulatory services will be cut.
News and Views
Let your legislators and Governor Romney know that they should make supplemental appropriations to reverse the budget cuts.
Social Service Cuts
— Patients in nursing homes who are hospitalized for medical reasons 20 days or longer will not have their bed paid for by the Division of Medical Assistance. 'Bed hold’ for non-medical reasons eliminated (patients will lose their bed).
— Elder Home Care administration and case management has been cut $1.1 million.
— Elder Home Care Protective Services and money management has been cut $440,000, a 27% reduction.
— The Elder Service Corps, employing very poor seniors, is eliminated.
Mental Health Services
— The Mass. Department of Mental Health (DMH) is $12.2 million below maintenance level. DMH has been cut $26 million in the last two years.
— A $1.5 million cut from DMH Homeless Services will result in 100 or more severely mentally ill people forced onto the street.
— As of FY00, there were 19,052 people on DMH’s wait list. After 2002, they stopped counting. Of these people, more than 3,381 were adults waiting for residential placement.
— Adult Community Mental Health is underfunded by $2.9 million.
— Child and Adolescent services have been cut by $405,000.
-_ Suicidal children needing inpatient placement are twice as likely to wait for it now, and ‘homicidal’ children 3.5 times as likely to wait.
— A $1.5 million cut for community services may cause deep service cuts.
— –Taunton State Hospital, the only state hospital for potentially violent
cases, was forced to close.
— –Dimock Community Health Center in Roxbury reported having to turn away 30-40 patients a day due to lack of funds.
As community facilities cut back, Mass. General Hospital reported a 49% increase in psychiatric patients in their emergency room.
— At least 17,000 people with mental illness are on the DMH’s waitlist for services as of November 2002. No updated information is available since then, as there is no staff to compile it.
— 70 supportive housing placements may be eliminated.
Mental Retardation Services
— The Department of Mental Retardation (DMR) has been cut $18.5 million.
— A $14 million shortfall in community residential programs may close 25 group homes.
— Cuts to Family Supports and Transportation Services will result in an estimated 921 people losing services.
Blind, Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Services
— The Mass. Commission for the Blind’s (MCB) budget is $311,000 short of maintenance level.
— MCB caseworkers now have caseloads of 90 clients each. Further reductions will increase this amount.
— The Mass. Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, a small and underfunded agency, has been allotted $226,000 lessthan what it needs for maintenance.
–Newsline, an audio newspaper service serving 1,300 blind people in Massachusetts, has been eliminated.
Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children (EAEDC)
— The FY04 budget eliminated a $35/month stipend for EAEDC residents living in unsubsidized public housing.
— Currently, the EAEDC provides a monthly grant of $323.94 to 17,000 very poor citizens. As of September 1, this amount has beenreduced to $268.
Community Infrastructure Cuts
— Housing Consumer education centers have been cut from $1 million to $200,000.
— The Individual Self-Sufficiency Initiative has been eliminated.
–The state has eliminated a program that provided four months of rent to more than 10,000 families facing eviction, forcing many into already overcrowded shelters or the street.
— The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is eliminating 72 positions and consolidating regional offices The agency has lost about 20 percent of its staff since 2001.
— The state’s award-winning Watershed Initiative– a nationally recognized program that coordinated state, federal, non-profit, municipal and business efforts to protect water, habitat, and other natural resources in Massachusetts’ 27 watersheds–has been eliminated.
— The Municipal Recycling Incentive Program (MRIP) that encouraged recycling by giving towns an incentive payment for each ton of trash recycled has been eliminated.
Parks and Open Space
— The Department of Environmental Management budget was slashed 12 per cent last year. Lifeguards and park rangers for state parks are being cut. Bathrooms and campgrounds at parks are being closed. Some parks will be closed in the winter. Maintenance is being deferred. Illegal dumping and vehicle trespass is on the increase.
— Public education was cut by more than $400 million in the fiscal year 2004.
— The class size reduction program was eliminated.
— Early literacy program was cut by 79 percent.
–The state was to have provided reimbursement to school districts for special education at a 75% level, but that amount has suddenly been cut to
— More than 3000 teachers and other school staff will be lost statewide and 920 teachers are being laid off in Boston.
— Regional school transportation support was cut 36.7%.
— Support for MCAS tutoring for low-scoring students was cut 80%.
— Winthrop’s four school libraries were “padlocked” because the librarians were let go as part of 22 layoffs and $1.5 million in cuts,
— Electives, sports, after-school programs, and library services are being cut and curtailed on a broad front.
— Higher education has been cut by 25 percent since FY01.
— Community colleges were hit by a 15%-16% reduction in funding.