The Massachusetts House of Representatives approved a supplemental budget today that will free up millions of dollars in desperately needed workforce training funds currently tangled in an accounting transition.
The $460 million budget measure will allow state officials to move money earmarked earlier this year for the Workforce Training Fund Program (WTFP) into a new trust fund created when Governor Deval Patrick signed the Fiscal Year 2012 budget in July. Officials cannot currently apply money that was in the fund prior to the creation of the trust, meaning that companies awarded grants in July have been waiting to receive their money.
“AIM strongly supports moving the Workforce Training Fund Program to a trust as a means of insulating the program from the uncertainties of the annual budget process. Moving money from the former structure to the new trust is really just an accounting issue,” said Richard C. Lord, President of AIM and Chair of the Workforce Training Fund Advisory Committee.
The measure also contains a provision requiring the commonwealth to post regulatory cost-benefit studies online, a move that AIM believes will foster meaningful debate about the costs and potential consequences of rules that may harm the Massachusetts economy.
The Legislature passed a cost-benefit study requirement in 2010, but the current law provides that only a summary of the analysis be posted online. The full text is available at the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office.
The cost-benefit reviews must include the following information about any new rule:
- an estimate of the number of small businesses subject to the proposed regulation;
- projected reporting, recordkeeping and other administrative costs required for compliance with the proposed regulation;
- the appropriateness of performance standards versus design standards;
- an identification of regulations of the promulgating agency, or of another agency or department of the commonwealth, which may duplicate or conflict with the proposed regulation; and
- an analysis of whether the proposed regulation is likely to deter or encourage the formation of new businesses in the commonwealth.
The supplemental budget proposes to spend $154 million and deposit $350 million into the state's rainy day fund. The bill addresses recent budget cut by investing in clothing allowances for children in need, nursing home residents, developmentally disabled individuals, adult education, the trial courts, an expansion of a housing tax credit, and disaster assistance.