Last Thursday, Mitt Romney railed against state legislators for subverting the constitutional process to get what they wanted at the Constitutional Convention. The next day, Romney subverted the constitutional process to get what he wanted in the current state budget.
Romney slashed $425 million from the budget last Friday, almost all of which (other than $37 million in across-the-board salary and administrative cuts) he had tried to cut during the budget process earlier this year, through line-item vetoes. The legislature overrode them.
So, Romney created a phony budget “emergency.” He vetoed a $450 million transfer of rainy-day funds — after the legislature’s session ended — which created a potential budget shortfall, based on projected state revenues. He then had his secretary of administration and finance declare this hypothetical and easily fixed shortfall to be an emergency. This allowed the governor to invoke his so-called 9C emergency power to make all the cuts he wanted in the first place.
Romney’s cuts will punish the poorest and sickest among us. Say good-bye to approximately $10 million in services for the mentally retarded; more than $1.5 million for elderly home-care services; $1 million for Head Start program grants; more than $1 million for emergency and acute mental-health services; $735,000 for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention; $410,000 for homeless assistance; $767,000 for emergency aid to the elderly and disabled; $428,000 for immunization; and $2.4 million for residential special education.
Preservation and maintenance of the state’s parks and beaches also took a huge hit in these cuts, as did other environmental services. Millions were taken back from state colleges, which based this school year’s budgets on the old numbers and are now screwed.
Remember when Romney wanted to create good jobs? Oh, those were the days. On Friday he cut $8 million from workforce-development grants; $14 million from economic grants to municipalities; $2.5 million from the Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation; $1 million from the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency; and $22 million from the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.
At least he was kind enough to Kerry Healey to wait until after the election to show just how much this administration cares about crime and violence. In that realm, he cut funds for youth-at-risk matching grants; domestic-violence specialists; sexual-assault services; the Sex Abuse Intervention Network; local law-enforcement assistance; witness-protection services; the State Police Crime Lab; the Criminal History Systems Board; the Sex Offender Registry Board; the Parole Board administration; and victim services.