BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) - The Governor's FY13 budget proposes over $900 million more than projected spending in the current budget, indicating economic growth, which the Department of Mental Health is benefiting from.
"It gives us an increase of $9.9 million dollars to expand on community based services. There's also line item increases that allows us to enhance our family partners to fully fund our clubhouses across the state," said Department of Mental Health Commissioner Marcia Fowler.
But officials testifying before the Joint Committee on Ways and Means Wednesday said the growth is largely eclipsed by increases in health care costs – And for the most part, the state has to integrate or scale back on services.
"There is a cut to community lunch programs for elders," said Health & Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby.
"We're looking at trying to not to cut into the residential and the very core services that people need to live," said Health & Human Services Assistant Secretary Christine Griffin.
Among the cuts include the elimination of 240,000 subsidized lunches for seniors and $450,000 dollars in funding for shopping and community assistance for deaf and blind people.
The Patrick administration maintains that new revenue in the form of taxes is advisable to minimize health care service cuts.
"There are revenues that are needed," said Griffin. "We're 49 percent of the budget so when it comes time to make cuts, you know we have a significant portion of the budget that we have to look at."
The next Ways and Means hearing is scheduled for Thursday, February 23rd at UMass Amherst where the topic will be education and local aid.