Gov. Patrick has proposed cuts to the current year spending in order to balance the state budget, which include about a 2% reduction in state aid to municipalities. This is the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s response -
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
GOV. PATRICK IMPOSES SWEEPING MID-YEAR BUDGET CUTS, TARGETS LOCAL AID AND SCHOOL ACCOUNTS
- Gov. Says State Must Close $329M Fiscal 2015 Budget Gap
• Gov. Uses His Budget Powers to Slash Education & Municipal Accounts by $40M
• Gov. Files Bill With Legislature to Cut Unrestricted Local Aid by $25.5M
Two days after the November 4th state election, in the waning days of his tenure, Governor Patrick disclosed a $329 million deficit in the state’s fiscal 2015 budget, a shortfall caused mostly by state budget administrative and management issues, and not by declining tax revenues. Earlier today, the Governor released his plan to close the budget gap by slashing state and local funding by $65 million mid-year. He announced that he is using his budget powers to implement approximately $200 million in immediate cuts to state-funded programs in executive agencies under his control, including $40.3 million in cuts to important municipal and school reimbursement and grant programs.
In addition to the $40.3 million in immediate cuts, the Governor has proposed legislation to slash $25.5 million from Unrestricted General Government Aid, a measure which must be approved by the Legislature to take effect. This would translate into a 2.7 percent cut in UGGA funding for every city and town. His plan relies exclusively on budget cuts and does not draw on the state’s $1.2 billion rainy day fund.
While the Administration has said they are not proposing any cuts to Chapter 70 school aid, the reality is clear: the unilateral budget cuts will impose serious mid-year reductions in many important K-12 education accounts, and will be harmful to schools. In addition, his proposal to cut Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) would further hit local schools, because cities and towns use their municipal aid to fund local education budgets.
Click here to link to the A&F website that contains the list of emergency budget cuts: http://www.mass.gov/anf/budget-taxes-and-procurement/state-budget/fy15-budget-info/fy15-budget-cut-information/
The MMA has issued a statement opposing the Governor’s cuts to cities, towns and school districts, and is calling on the Legislature to reject his proposal to slash UGGA funding.
A copy of the MMA’s statement can be downloaded by clicking here.
A copy of the MMA’s letter to the Legislature can be downloaded by clicking here.
GOVERNOR IMPLEMENTS $40.3 MILLION IN IMMEDIATE MID-YEAR CUTS TO KEY SCHOOL AND MUNICIPAL PROGRAMS
Using his statutory authority to reduce executive branch spending, the Governor has unilaterally reduced funding for state budget accounts under his control by approximately $200 million, including $40.3 million in painful mid-year cuts to accounts that provide direct funding to cities, towns and school districts. The MMA has identified the local government accounts impacted the most, listed in order of size:
- $18.7 million from Regional School Transportation (a 27% cut)
• $7.1 million from the Regionalization and Efficiencies Reserve (a 49% cut)
• $3.86 million from Special Education Reimbursements (a 15% cut)
• $2.88 million from the Chapter 70 “Pothole” account (an 85% cut)
• $2.24 million from Vocational School Transportation (a 100% cut)
• $1.3 million from Public School Military Mitigation Grants (a 100% cut)
• $1.2 million from Charter School Reimbursements (a 1.5% cut)
• $1.1 million from Sewer Rate Relief (a 100% cut)
• $1 million from Extended Learning Time Grants (a 6.8% cut)
• $359 thousand from Kindergarten Expansion Grants (a 1.5% cut)
• $287 thousand from METCO (a 1.5% cut)
• $283 thousand from Library Aid (a 1.5% cut)
Every city, town and school district will be hit with one or more of these cuts. In most cases, the cuts will feel much deeper because the reductions are being implemented five months into the fiscal year. For example, with only seven months left in fiscal year 2015, a 10% cut in an account will translate into a 17% cut from now to the end of the year, and a 50% cut in a program will translate into an 85% reduction in remaining reimbursements due to cities and towns.
PLEASE ASK YOUR LEGISLATORS TO OPPOSE THE GOVERNOR’S LEGISLATION TO IMPOSE A $25.5 MILLION MID-YEAR CUT TO UNRESTRICTED GENERAL GOVERNMENT AID
In a move that surprised the Legislature and local officials, the Governor has also filed legislation requesting $25.5 million or 2.7% cut in Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) for every city and town. 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 is already $400 million below original fiscal 2009 levels, and any additional cuts will be painful for cities and towns across the state.
Please call your legislators today and explain that cities and towns should not be hit with mid-year cuts, especially since the shortfall is in no way related to local government or the overall performance of the economy, and is primarily due to state spending decisions and the administration of state government. At this point in the year, cuts in municipal or school funding accounts would be extremely painful at the local level.
PLEASE CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS TODAY AND ASK THEM TO OPPOSE THE GOVERNOR’S PROPOSED $25.5 MILLION MID-YEAR CUT TO UNRESTRICTED MUNICIPAL AID