Thursday, December 16, 2010

Massachusetts Agencies Brace for Cuts

BOSTON -- Having been hit hard in recent years, as budget cuts have taken a steady toll and demands for their services have spiked, the state’s social service providers now worry that the worst is yet to come.
The Patrick administration announced this week that it intends to cut as much as $1.5 billion from next year’s budget, potentially eviscerating social services statewide. The cuts have loomed for months as political leaders and economists warned of a shortfall for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.
With Patrick and state lawmakers saying they need to make between $1 billion to $2 billion in reductions and with federal stimulus money exhausted, the reality of an even worse year is sinking in. Providers are pleading for the governor to spare them.
"I think everyone in the human services field is incredibly nervous," said Gary Blumenthal, president of the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers in Waltham, which represents about 25,000 residents who receive state assistance.

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