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Governor's FY04 Budget Vetoes

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To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives:



Pursuant to the provisions of Section 5 of Article 63 of the Amendments to the Constitution, I am today signing House 4004, An Act Making Appropriations for the Fiscal Year 2004 for the Maintenance of the Departments, Boards, Commissions, Institutions and Certain Activities of the Commonwealth, for Interest, Sinking Fund and Serial Bond Requirements and for Certain Permanent Improvements.


I commend you for completing this budget in a timely manner without raising taxes and without using our dwindling Stabilization Fund reserves. However, because I believe that available revenues will not be enough to support the level of expenditures you have recommended, I am vetoing $201 million to ensure that the Fiscal Year 2004 budget is balanced and that we maintain a more sustainable level of government spending. I am also vetoing many other sections of this bill, including provisions that would have moved the Commonwealth's pension funding off budget. I am filing today legislation to account for this spending in the appropriate way.


It is encouraging to see that you adopted a number of the reform provisions that I put forth in my House 1 budget recommendation and Article 87 Reform, Restructure, and Revitalize legislation. Among my proposed reforms, I am pleased to be signing today legislation that:


  • merges the Metropolitan District Commission and the Department of Environmental Management;
  • streamlines the functions of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services;
  • establishes a new Commonwealth Development Coordinating Council;
  • gives the Chief Legal Counsel the authority to determine the need for outside counsel;
  • provides the Trial Court with an incentive for collecting court fees by allowing them to retain a portion of that revenue;
  • reforms the way the Commonwealth divests surplus property;
  • expands the mission of the Executive Office of Public Safety to include homeland security;
  • establishes a more reasonable share of employee health insurance costs;
  • requires the Commonwealth to be honest in balancing its budget by eliminating extraneous funds;
  • implements many new initiatives to control the skyrocketing costs of the Commonwealth's Medicaid program, including requiring co-payments for services; and
  • creates a new Cabinet-level Executive Office of Economic Development.


It is also encouraging that, after working with my Secretary of Health and Human Services, you have adopted our plan to restore 36,000 members to the MassHealth Basic program, as well as much-needed preliminary reforms in the Uncompensated Care Pool.


Your enactment of two other proposals is an important step in our continued efforts to maintain a positive business environment and improve access to affordable housing. Extending the Investment Tax Credit for five years to 2009 will help revive our economy, and investing $70 million in capital funds through the Affordable Housing Trust will help meet the state's critical need for reasonably priced housing.


While I did not propose it, I am also signing the repeal of taxpayer-funded elections. Although I am supportive of campaign finance reform, I do not believe that taxpayer money should be used for that purpose. That view is also consistent with the recent referendum vote.


We have taken significant steps in this budget to put the state budget back on track, but we need to work on more extensive changes, especially in the areas of workforce reforms and Executive Branch management authority, to ensure that it stays on a sustainable course for the future. My vetoes today reflect the need to hold the line on state spending and manage the Commonwealth effectively and efficiently. Therefore:


  • I am hereby reducing appropriation amounts in items of section 2 of House 4004 enumerated in Attachment A of this message by the amount and for the reasons set forth therein;


  • I am striking wording in items of section 2 of House 4004 also set forth in Attachment A, for the reasons set forth therein;


  • I am striking in their entirety those sections of House 4004 itemized in Attachment B of this message, for the reasons set forth in that attachment; and


  • pursuant to Article 56, as amended by Article 90, Section 3 of the Amendments to the Constitution of the Commonwealth, I am returning sections 19, 39, 117, 185, 361, 453, 596, 698, and 701 with recommendations for amendment. My reasons for doing so and the recommended amendments are set forth in separate letters of even date which are hereby incorporated by reference and included with this message as Attachments C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, and K.


I hereby approve the remainder of this Act.

Respectfully submitted,

Mitt Romney's signature

Mitt Romney Governor



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