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Local Aid to Cities and Towns Trimmed Under Gov’s Budget Gap Plan

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — We all have to tighten our belts a little more. That’s the message from Governor Deval Patrick to cities and towns .

A $540 million dollar mid-year state budget gap is being blamed on lower than projected tax revenue and economic growth. Half of that gap will be filled by rainy days funds and various one-time only resources.

The governor has proposed numerous solutions to cover the rest including a 1% cut in local unrestricted aid, money already expected by cities and towns. Springfield would lose an estimated $320,000.

“The governor has to make adjustments just as I’ve had to on the city level,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. “And you try to be fair to the taxpayers as to what you can generate revenue wise and you also try to look at where you can cut. I have to say, though, I know you hear it all the time from mayors, I’m at the bone right now.”

Sarno said he would do everything he could before an job cuts.

Massachusetts Secretary of Administration and Finance, Jay Gonzalez said the governor tried to be as fair as possible in his proposal.

“The fact is we have scaled back everywhere in government and we need municipalities to be our partners in helping to share in the sacrifice and solve the fiscal challenges we face,” said Gonzalez. “The governor made one percent cuts across all the executive branch yesterday. He asked the non-executive branches like the judiciary and the legislature to make a one percent cut also.”

The governor said if 2013 lottery revenues are above projections, the excess would replace the local aid cuts. The budget gap proposal did not include any education cuts. The entire package must still be considered by the legislature.

The proposal must still be considered by the legislature. The governor said if lottery revenues were above projections for 2013, the excess would would be used to replace the one percent local aid cuts.

His budget gap proposal also spared education from any cuts.


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