Friday, October 9, 2009

Good Ideas in April, Even Better in October!

The Commonwealth is facing close to a $1 billion revenue shortfall, this despite a significant hike in the sales tax. In April, in an attempt to be proactive, Republican lawmakers offered more than $300 million in cost savings initiatives. Not surprisingly, every proposal was overwhelmingly rejected by the tax and spend Democrats on Beacon Hill. Those ideas were good in April, but they’re looking even better now that it’s October.

While we are cognizant that some cuts will have to be made, we are disappointed that none of our efforts to save money were adopted.

Here’s a recap of what we offered:

1. Require furloughs of all state employees.
Cost Savings=$40 million

2. Shift all MassHealth members to managed care plans, rather than the MassHealth fee-for-service program and primary care clinician plan.
Cost Savings=$200 million annually

3. Encourage medical facilities to return unused, unexpired medication, which will lead to a decrease in overall health care costs in the Commonwealth.
Cost Savings=$20 million

4. Change the Pacheco law threshold from $200,000 to $5 million.
Cost Savings=$40 million

5. Provide the rules and regulations for the state to expedite the sale of surplus land, transferring the revenues from such transactions to the general fund.
Cost Savings=$30 million

Those five proposals would save the Commonwealth about $330 million this year alone, and that is a conservative estimate as there is potential to save even more by implementing these ideas. Innovative thinking is needed to rectify the fiscal crisis the state is dealing with right now. Saving hundreds of millions of dollars would spare essential programs when the Governor takes out his 9C pen and we owe at least that to the people we represent.