Local Aid Reduced in Latest Budget Cuts

For Immediate Release
1/29/09

Local aid was cut by 9% in the budget cuts made by Governor Patrick this week, while Chapter 70 funding for the local schools remained untouched. Massachusetts law requires the Governor to balance a budget each year, which means that whenever his administration determines that there will not be enough revenue to pay for the spending authorized in the budget, he has to make cuts. These cuts, typically referred to as “9C cuts,” were instituted in reaction to declining revenues during this time of fiscal crisis. The total amount of 9C cuts this January amounted to $1.1 billion, $128 million of which came in the form of cuts to local aid.

“There’s no doubt that these cuts are going to have a negative effect on our local communities,” said State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton). “It’s a very difficult situation for the state, the community, and the people of Massachusetts.”

“I do appreciate that Governor Patrick was at least able to avoid any cuts to Chapter 70 funding for our local schools,” continued Eldridge. “Maintaining that funding has been one of my highest priorities as a legislator, and I pushed hard for those funds to remain untouched.”

The Governor also released his proposed FY10 budget this week, which called for across-the-board cuts of 28.5% to local aid and level-funding for Chapter 70. The budget also included cuts to higher education, human services, and the environment, as well as administrative costs within executive agencies.

“I’m going to work hard to preserve as much local aid funding as possible in the FY2010 budget, but it’s clear that at least some cuts are going to be inevitable,” said Eldridge. “This is why I believe that early in this session, we need to pass legislation to give municipalities the tools they need to close the revenue gap, such as a ‘local option’ meal and hotel tax, and closing the telecom property tax loophole. This would give our struggling towns and cities a greater ability to maintain vital services and reduce the need for raising property taxes.”