MFA NEWS SCAN UPDATE - FEBRUARY 7, 2012

GOVERNOR RELEASES FY ‘13 BUDGET
News Scan Update - week of: February 6, 2012

News Scan Update - week of: February 6, 2012


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Gov. files budget, training funds avail., WIC update.

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MFA NEWS SCAN UPDATE - FEBRUARY 7, 2012

GOVERNOR RELEASES FY ‘13 BUDGET

On January 25 Governor Patrick released his budget recommendation for the state’s fiscal year 2013 budget, which will commence July 1.  The $32.3 billion budget represents a 2.98% increase in spending over the present state budget plan, a $935.9 million boost.  The Governor made a number of proposals to control the largest cost drivers in the state budget, particularly health care costs.  Even with these cost-saving measures, many areas of state government are expected to experience flat or reduced funding levels and, in the aggregate, total funding for state government outside of health care, safety net and certain legally-obligated fixed costs will be reduced from FY12 levels.  Also cities and towns can expect to receive the same amount of local aid they received during the present fiscal year, as called for in the Governor’s recommendation.  Other measures in his proposal to raise revenue include:
* Expansion of the state’s bottle deposit law to include soda water or similar carbonated soft drinks; beer and other malt beverages; non-carbonated soft drinks including but not limited to mineral water, flavored and unflavored water, spring water, fruit drinks, juice, sports drinks and other water beverages, coffee and coffee-based drinks; and all other non-alcoholic carbonated and noncarbonated drinks in liquid form intended for human consumption except milk and beverages that are primarily derived from dairy products, infant formula, and FDA-approved medicines.  Containers of 2 gallons capacity or less for carbonated and malt beverages and less than 1 gallon for noncarbonated beverages would be covered.  The Governor expects this proposal to raise an additional $22 million in revenue from all unclaimed nickels;
* An increase of $0.50 in taxes per pack of cigarettes, expected to raise and additional $62.5 million;
* An increase in the tax on cigars and other smokeless tobacco, expected to raise an additional $10.4 million;
* Elimination of the sales tax exemption on candy and soda, expected to raise an additional $61.5 million.
Soon the House will release its version of the state fiscal budget and begin the process for completion of the final budget.  We will keep you informed.

TRAINING FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR MA EMPLOYEES


As announced last week, State Training Funds are available for our members to better train their managers and employees.  The Training Funds for this program are paid for through the MA Workforce Training Fund, which is financed by Massachusetts employers and is available to any business with employees in MA.  Any size company may have access to available training funds.  Please let us know if you have any interest in learning more about this special State Funded Training Program by responding before the end of January to this email by saying “YES I am interested in learning more."

WIC UPDATE


Beginning this month, WIC participants will be showing up in retail stores with a new WIC issued gold key fob called the WIC Gold Card which will be used to check for signature compliance after the amount of the WIC purchase has been filled out on the WIC check.  The signature on the WIC Gold Card should match the signature on the check.

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News Scan Update - week of: February 6, 2012


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Gov. files budget, training funds avail., WIC update.

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