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With state revenue down more than expected this year, programs for children and the needy may be on the chopping block again.
"These are very, very significant challenges, things that we've never seen in state government before," said JudyAnn Bigby, the state's health and human services secretary.
Advocates for dozens of human services groups gathered Tuesday to hear Bigby's assessment of a worsening state budget situation.
"We need their ideas about ways that we can make reductions, or get savings that do the least harm to the populations that we care about," Bigby said.
Details of any cuts won't be made until next week at the earliest.
To help trim the budget, Bigby said her agency has looked at how to tighten the eligibility process for state services.
"A lot of our concerns are really on the table," said Patricia Quinn, executive director of the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy.
"There were a number of things we were able to do going into FY 2010 that offered some cushion for some of the more drastic reductions that we were worried about then," she said, "and I think that's what we are looking at both in this current fiscal year and definitely heading into FY 20011."
Leslie Kirwan, the outgoing administration and finance secretary, has instructed state department heads to prepare to reduce spending in case revenue continues to fall.
On Monday, the state treasurer's office reported revenue for the month of September will be $200 million below projections. The final numbers for the month will be released in early October.
This program aired on September 29, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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