I got up this morning to another winter day of at home working. I am grateful to have a job that at least some of the time I can do from home but “man oh man” is this winter killing me. My budget for heat this winter is shot. At $3.09 a gallon it’s going to cost me $2,010.00 to heat my 6 room apartment, almost double from last year. You see we live in a house that was built around the turn of the century, turn of the last century and I think our furnace was built at the same time. I sat down to get some work done, after our internet came back on.
So today when I took a minute to look at the cuts in Gov. Patrick’s 2012 budget my first thought won’t be printed here and then I thought, again the government is balancing the budget on the backs of the poor. I looked in on a couple of websites for more information The piece in “The GovMonitor” was kind to the budget, 4/5 of the article talked about all the things this budget would provide, was structured to do and how they were increasing revenues while the rest talked about where the cuts would be. Of the 12 bulleted cuts 9 will predominantly effect low and middle income people the other 3 effect everyone but again it will be the poor people who suffer most. You can read the whole article at http://www.thegovmonitor.com/world_news/united_states/governor-patrick-releases-2012-massachusetts-budget-recomendations-45419.html
But here are some of the high points or should I say low points of the budget cuts.
- $65 million to local aid
Let’s see….local aid that means cuts in police, firepersons, highway crews, teachers, trash collectors etc. Oh and don’t forget many of those that get laid-off will fall into the ranks of the poor.
- $45 million for counsel to indigent persons
No more free legal aid outside of the Public Defenders’ Office. Don’t get me wrong… there are some really good P.D’s and there are some shlubs. Let’s be real our state doesn’t pay well enough to attract the best and brightest. And when there is an exceptional one they move on pretty quickly to better paying work. If you are poor the state reminds you that “beggars can’t be choosers”
- $23 million for spending on emergency homeless shelters
This one can in no way be justified. Cutting funding to shelters when homelessness is on the rise and there is nothing firmly in place to keep families from being on the street is just plain stupid. When you have families in motels because there are no shelter beds and then they cut beds, where’s the logic? If you want to save money how about this… Average stay in a motel is 4 months that’s $9,733. Why not take ½ that money and give rental subsidies for 1 year, use the rest of the money to help train people so they can earn enough to support themselves.
- $16.4 million for Department of Mental Health hospitals
Between 1972 and 1990 70% of the state mental hospitals in the country, closed releasing its patient s into the community. Many of these people ended up on the streets, in shelters, in jail or dead. Those that were lucky enough to have family that could provide a place for them to go, as their family members aged, died or went into long term care facilities they too ended up on the streets. So what now? Throw the remaining patients, the ones that are too unstable to handle being in the community without a safety net, into the street? Again the disenfranchised get the short end of the stick.
I’m getting pretty cynical right about now, so I guess I’m starting to rant and being a bit sarcastic.
- $15 million for the Employment Services Program
Yes yes please take away the remote possibility that an unemployed resident could get retrained to find sustainable work.
- $14 million for family respite services at the Department of Development Disability Services
The government says “Families who choose to keep their differently-abled relative at home do not deserve respite. ‘
- $11.5 million for the clothing allowance paid to families receiving TAFDC
$150.00 per child will buy maybe 3 school out fits at Savers or Salvation Army. Local rules for school uniforms don’t help much, rarely do uniform acceptable clothing end up in a second hand store.
- $8 million for Early Intervention services at the Department of Public Health
Early intervention services are utilized by mostly poor people. Poor people have more preventable health issues that any other segment of our population but “Hey unhealthy malnourished people are easier to control.’
- $6.6 million for group care services provide by the Department of Children and Families
Now while I am not a cheer leader for D.C.F. they are needed. How many children will die or be permanently injured because services were cut.
- $6.2 million for the State Police
Small towns beware. The State Police won’t be able to be there to back you up when you need them because they have been laid-off.
- $5.9 million for health promotion activities at DPH
We should keep the masses uninformed. It’s really simple they get sick, they die so we save money.
- 2% cut to all constitutional officers’ administrative budgets, including the Governor’s Office
Okay this is a step in the right direction but how about 20% cut. Let the governor, senators, representatives and constitutional officers’ get their own dam coffee.
There are some ways to raise money a flat tax across the board? Or even just raise the taxes a bit. I’m willing to pay more. Well we still have some time to get changes in this budget but we better work fast, summers just around the corner.