MMA on state budget changes


The Massachusetts Municipal Association sent out this information in an email alert about the state budget cuts -

GOVERNOR CITES $540M STATE BUDGET SHORTFALL IN FY 2013

• Gov. Implements $225M in Program Cuts Using His 9C Budget Powers

• Reduces Municipal and Education Accounts by $28.75M

• Gov. Files Bill With Legislature to Cut Unrestricted Local Aid by $9M

Earlier this afternoon, Governor Deval Patrick announced that the state is facing a $540 million shortfall in its fiscal 2013 budget, and he unveiled a plan to close the budget gap this year.  He announced that he is using his “9C” emergency budget powers to implement $225 million in immediate cuts to state-funded programs in executive agencies under his control, and he proposed legislation to expand his 9C authority so that he can cut $9 million, or 1%, from Unrestricted General Government Aid, as well as 1% cuts to the judiciary, constitutional offices, and the Legislature.  His plan would also withdraw $200 million from the state’s rainy day fund.

Click HERE to link to the A&F website that contains the Governor’s announcement, his budget reductions, and his legislation.

$28.75 MILLION IN IMMEDIATE CUTS TO KEY SCHOOL AND MUNICIPAL PROGRAMS

Using his existing authority to declare a fiscal emergency and reduce executive branch spending, generally referred to as 9C powers, the Governor has unilaterally reduced funding for state agency accounts under his control by $225 million.  Many of these cuts will be painful for cities, towns and school districts.  The MMA has identified the local government accounts impacted the most, listed in order of the size of the mid-year budget cut:

• $11.5 million from the Special Education Circuit Breaker program  (a 4.8% cut)

• $6 million from Municipal Regionalization and Efficiencies Incentive Grants (a 41.2% cut)

• $5.25 million from the McKinney-Vento homeless student transportation account (a 46.5% cut)

• $2.5 million from the Chapter 70 “Pothole” account (a 71.4% cut)

• $1.3 million from Veterans’ Benefits reimbursements (a 2.9% cut)

• $1 million from Regional School Transportation (a 2.2% cut)

• $1 million from Charter School Reimbursements (a 1.4% cut)

• $83 thousand from School-Based Health Programs (a 0.7% cut)

• $68 thousand from Universal Pre-Kindergarten (a 0.9% cut)

• $45 thousand from the Municipal Police Training Committee (a 1.8% cut)

• In addition, a shortfall in sales tax collections will reduce the total sales tax revenue amount that flows to the School Building Assistance program by $20 million, which A&F officials say should not impact planned projects (we recommend contacting SBA if you have a project pending to receive an update on the status of your project and make sure there is no impact).

ASK YOUR LEGISLATORS TO OPPOSE THE GOVERNOR’S LEGISLATION TO IMPOSE A $9 MILLION MID-YEAR CUT TO UNRESTRICTED GENERAL GOVERNMENT AID

In a move that surprised the Legislature and local officials, the Governor has filed legislation requesting expanded 9C powers to reduce non-executive agencies by 1%.  This includes a proposal to have the Legislature approve a 1% cut in Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) for every city and town, for a mid-year reduction of $9 million.  The Governor’s bill includes language saying that any unexpected increases in Lottery profits would go to cities and towns before the end of the year, potentially offsetting a portion of the cut, but this is no guarantee and, given the economy, very unlikely.  The MMA will strongly oppose any cut to unrestricted municipal aid, because that would destabilize local budgets in the middle of the fiscal year, and force reductions in community services.  Unrestricted municipal aid has already been cut 32%, or $416 million below original fiscal 2009 levels, and any additional cuts will be painful for cities and towns across the state.

Please Call Your Representatives and Senators Today and Ask Them to Oppose the Governor’s $9 Million Cut to Municipal Aid.

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