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Health Advocates Say Romney Cutting and Running

December 7, 2006

Boston, MA - Human services providers say people with disabilities and workers who care for them are still in bad shape, even after Governor Romney restored a fraction of his budget cuts last week. Romney gave back about 10 percent of the $425 million cut after being pressured by health executives. Opponents of the cuts say that's not enough to help some of the state's most vulnerable, including the elderly, homeless, mentally disabled, physically handicapped, and people with HIV and AIDS.

Toby Fisher, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts, says the state has a responsibility, regardless of its current debts.

"We as a society must be able to take care of our most vulnerable, our most chronically mentally ill, our most disabled..."

According to Judy Meredith, director of the Public Policy Institute, Romney may have fixed his budget, but he has hurt everyone else's.

"The state does have cash flow problems, but more importantly, so do regular people in state hospitals and some of these civic projects."

Governor-elect Deval Patrick will have the option to restore the funds, including the millions cut from a reserve devoted to salary increases for the lowest-paid social workers. A spokesman for Governor Romney says the cuts were a matter of fiscal discipline.

A full list of the budget cuts can be viewed online, at www.mass.gov/Agov2/docs/11.10.06.9c.cuts.pdf.

Kevin Clay/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MA