Patrick Keeps Legislature Budget Largely Intact, But Vetoes Controversial Item
The governor's budget in $32.1 million slimmer that that proposed by the Legislature.
Gov. Deval Patrick largely passed on Sunday the 2013 budget hammered out by the House and Senate, but vetoed 10 line items that totaled about $32.1 million in spending from the $32.5 billion plan.
His vetoes included a plan to keep the 169-bed Taunton State Psychiatric Hospital open with 45 beds. Instead, Patrick wants to close the hospital altogether, shaving $5.1 milllion from the budget. But his veto of the scaled-back plan presented by the Legislature stirred controversy in light the dwindling state resources dedicated to those with psychiatric problems. South Shore legislators have already said they will seek to override it, according to the Boston Globe.
In another controversial move, Patrick vetoed an amendment that would require proof of legal residence in order to register a motor vehicle. He cited his concern that the law would veer into "inappropriate territory" by involving state officers in immigration enforcement.
The governor also cut $10 million each from the Probation Department and from a "human services salary reserve that Patrick proposes to instead use to support unfunded increases for human service providers," according to the Boston Herald.
Another major cut included $3.5 million for a school districts reserve.
Among the more potentially popular additions to the Patrick budget is an August sales tax holiday, which will cost the state about $20 million in revenue.
Still, overall spending is still up 4 percent in next year's budget compared to this year, and the 2013 budget includes no new taxes or fees, per the plan passed by the Legislature in late June.