Sept. 15, 2011: New Report on Impacts of Debt Deal on Massachusetts

Currently, a third of MA budget comes from federal funds that now face possibility of cuts in debt negotiations
WASHINGTON, D.C. – With leaders in Washington debating deficit reduction efforts and funding cuts that will impact America’s economy for the next decade, Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today released a new report that outlines how recently-enacted deficit legislation, The Budget Control Act of 2011, could have drastic impacts on Massachusetts’ healthcare, education system and economy at large. The report details the industries, services and jobs that are at stake over the next decade for the Bay State, including possible cuts to services such as Medicare and Medicaid, clean energy programs and medical research. The report details the process and scope of the recent budget agreement and provides a timeline for when decisions will be made, including the work of the “Super Committee”, which must reach an agreement by November 23 in order for Congress to vote on a final agreement by December 23.
The debt deal will have major impacts on virtually everyone in Massachusetts and across the country,” said Rep. Markey, the dean of the Massachusetts delegation and top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee. “Nothing less than billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs are at stake in this debate. The people of Massachusetts need to know the ‘when, why and how’ these budget cuts will be made and have a voice in the decision-making process. As a high-tech, clean-tech, bio-tech economic epicenter for the nation, we need to protect and support the businesses and industries of tomorrow that are creating jobs today in Massachusetts.”
The full report, “The Debt Deal: Implications for Massachusetts”, can be found HERE .
The Budget Control Act presented goals and deadlines for deficit reduction, but the specific programs that will be affected will be determined by the ongoing budget process and by the Super Committee. As home to some of the premier technology companies, research institutions, hospitals, schools, and businesses in the world, Massachusetts would be disproportionately impacted should federal funding for health research, defense technology or small business innovation be severely cut.
    •    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding supports 35,000 high-quality, high-paying jobs in Massachusetts. The state is the second highest recipient of NIH research dollars in the nation, and a cut to the agency’s budget would be disproportionately harmful to the Bay State economy.
    •    Massachusetts is a hub for clean energy innovation, which now supports upwards of 30,000 jobs in the state – an increase of 65 percent over the past three years. Cuts to clean energy programs could threaten the $450 million in federal funding that support the state’s blossoming clean technology economy.
    •    Defense research funding brings billions of dollars into the state and supports more than 115,000 jobs. Vital engineering and research & development work is being performed in Massachusetts labs and companies every day. But if the Super Committee does not reach agreement, half of the budget cuts that automatically would take effect over the next decade would come from this sector.
    •    Cuts to the federal contribution to Medicaid and CHIP – known in Massachusetts as MassHealth – would result in shifting costs to the state and to the 1.3 million low-income children, families, and seniors who depend on the program.
    •    The range of Medicare proposals being debated – from minor adjustments to privatizing, and effectively ending, the program as we know it, could shift costs to seniors, doctors and the state. Yet this would do nothing to address the root causes of rising health care costs. Medicare cuts would have devastating consequences for the one million beneficiaries in Massachusetts, 880,00 of which are seniors.
Republicans in Congress are focused on how to get the President fired when we need to focus on how to get Americans hired,” said Rep. Markey. “Our economy cannot afford a plan that makes short-sighted spending cuts fueled by political partisanship that threatens job creation and stifles growth. We need an economic solution that balances spending cuts with new revenue and ensures that billionaires and big oil companies pay their fair share.”