Posted by Jeremy Shulkin
That $600 million hole in the state’s FY11 budget (which, by the way, has to be balanced in a week) doesn’t seem to be closing anytime soon. Patrick’s administration was banking on receiving the money from congress, but the bill that would send the state the extended medicaid and unemployment money, called FMAP funds, has yet to go up for a final vote.
A release sent out by MA House minority leader Brad Jones quoted the state’s Administration and Finance Secretary Jay Gonzalez as saying there was no timetable to receive the funds, predictably, had Republicans criticizing Patrick. Shrewsbury State Rep. and state treasurer candidate Karyn Polito said “the budget is held together with baling wire and bubble gum,” and gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker got in the mix, raising the $600 million figure to $700 million and calling it “poor planning.”
Scott Brown has entered too, telling the State House News Service that he warned the Governor that those funds wouldn’t last. Patrick’s people “dispute” this, writes the news service, and claim that they were essentially “given assurances from the Obama administration” that the funding would be there.
Adding more drama to this is Brown would be one of the people who could vote yes and get Massachusetts those in-limbo funds–except it sounds like he won’t. He essentially voted against continuing debate over the funding about a week ago, and it doesn’t sound like he’s going to change his mind.
“I feel very badly but I also have an obligation to make sure we hold the line on spending,” he said to the news service.
Also, Brown’s Facebook page is blowing up with pleas for him to vote in favor of extending the benefits.