Beyond job eliminations, the picture gets even fuzzier. As usual, the State House News Service has the most specifics, so I crib liberally from them here:
Gov. Deval Patrick announced a plan Thursday to cut $352 million in state spending four months into the fiscal year, and rely on up to 2,000 layoffs, $82 million in new “departmental revenues,” and $62 million in federal stimulus aid to close most of a $600 million budget shortfall. The package also pulls $60 million in surplus funds from the fiscal year that ended June 30, begins a phase-out of a police education incentives program, and offers a tax amnesty program estimated to generate $20 million...So far as I can tell, Patrick attempts to close a $600M (estimated) budget gap with approximately $277M in actual cuts. The rest of the hole he hopes to fill with additional cuts to be authorized by the Legislature, yet another backfill of federal stimulus dollars, a bunch of revenue from a tax amnesty program that has not yet even been formulated, and then a bunch of accounting changes.
Using unilateral authority, Patrick sliced $277 million in executive branch spending, and asked the Legislature for power to trim another $75 million from the Legislature, constitutional offices, courts, sheriffs and district attorneys....
Subtracting from Beacon Hill aid to municipalities, Patrick pared $18 million from a $40.5 million account that reimburses regional school districts for busing students and asked the Legislature to cut $10.7 million from the state’s payment to cities and towns for tax-exempt property. Patrick also cut in half the appropriation for compulsive gambling treatment, from $1 million to $500,000...
Aides said the new revenues Patrick laid out included roughly $50 million in anticipated Department of Revenue tax case settlements, $27 million in reduced transfers to the Mass. School Building Authority and settlements and $6 million in unspecified Department of Transportation revenues.
So he's cutting. But what is missing? As Senate Minoity Leader Richard Tisei puts it,
What jumps out at me about Governor Patrick’s proposal is that he is resorting to budget cuts that will harm the state’s most vulnerable residents, but he is still not doing anything to change the way the state does business. There were no calls for a state hiring freeze, no calls for a wage freeze, and no attempt to do away with the anti-privatization Pacheco Law that is costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year.Despite his party's recent mantra, "never let a crisis go to waste," Patrick is again nibbling around the edges of state government to very temporarily plug an existing gap, instead of making the fundamental and long overdue changes necessary to both fill the gap and prevent it from opening again next year.
I have noticed in press coverage and in the blogosphere a troubling tendency amongst some Republicans to instinctively celebrate "cuts" - any cuts - without giving much thought to their substance. It is apparently the case that 1,000 state employees are receiving real live pink slips next week as a result of Governor Patrick's actions this week. Some of those people might be "hacks." Some of them might not do all that much. It is certainly the case, however, that many of them are hard-working and dedicated public employees who depend on their paychecks. Likewise, some of the programs getting the axe are worthwhile. They help people who will now be without help. It is wrong, in my view, to celebrate that.
Instead, we should press the point made by Senator Tisei: The Governor "is resorting to budget cuts that will harm the state’s most vulnerable residents, but he is still not doing anything to change the way the state does business." Again.