BOSTON (AP) - Citing improved tax collections, Gov. Deval Patrick's administration on Friday restored nearly $21 million in budget cuts, the bulk of which will go to local school districts.
The funds that were restored amount to less than 10 percent of the $225 million in spending reductions that the governor ordered in December when revenues were lagging and it appeared the state could be headed for a sizeable budget deficit in the fiscal year that runs through June 30.
Tax revenues subsequently rebounded and through April are now running more than $500 million above the state's revised revenue benchmarks for the fiscal year.
Despite the improvement, Patrick's Secretary of Administration and Finance Glen Shor said in a conference call with reporters that it would be unwise to restore any more of the cuts at this time.
"Fiscal restraint remains imperative," said Shor.
He noted that much of the increased revenue has come from one-time sources such as capital gains and tax settlements and that by law, much of the proceeds from these payments must be deposited into the state's "rainy day" fund.
Revenue from traditional sources such as income or sales taxes remain close to or even slightly below benchmarks, Shor said, meaning that the current spike doesn't necessarily point to a continuing trend.
The state also wants to hold back in case of unanticipated expenses in the final weeks of the fiscal year.
The largest of the so-called 9C cuts restored was $11.5 million in reimbursements to school districts for special education costs.
The state also restored $5.25 million to cover a mandate that cities and towns provide transportation to schools for homeless children.
The full list of restored spending includes:
- $5.25 million homeless student's transportation
- $1 million for regional school transportation
- $11.5 million to reimburse for special education costs through the Circuit Breaker
- $100,000 for micro small business loans
- $50,000 for assistive technology at Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
- $135,999 for Vocational Rehabilitation at the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
- $162,500 for Massachusetts Service Alliance (MSA)
- $200,000 for the Buy Local Program at the Department of Agriculture
- $216,980 for Council on Aging (COA) Grants at Elder Affairs (ELD)
- $280,000 for the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to hire additional summer staffers
- $717,554 for rest home rate increases at the Department of Transitional Assistance
- $1 million for the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative program created in last year's Jobs Bill
- $53,000 for grants to Visitor Information Bureaus
- $50,000 for Aid to Incarcerated Mothers
- $41,667 for the South Boston Community Health Center
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