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January 22, 2014 / stacieshap

Patrick Budget Proposal 2015

budget squeezingBudgets set the agenda for the Commonwealth, and the next Governor will be building on the funding priorities of his/her predecessor. So, Governor Patrick’s budget is an important jumping off point in discussions/background for the 2014 race.

Unfortunately, the Governor’s 2015 budget proposal doesn’t bode well for cities and towns municipal services, as the revenue-raising package is just not adequate.  It gives a slight boost to education and transportation, but leaves municipalities forced to consider raising local taxes. From the Globe:

“This is actually a very difficult and painful budget for cities and towns,” said Geoff Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, which represents local officials. Beckwith said that, since 2008, local aid has fallen by about $400 million. “It’s disappointing,” he said.

In addition, the education increase for K-12 schools that Patrick hailed as a big step forward amounts to about $25 per pupil, Beckwith said, and that would force most school districts to make cuts because of increasing costs.

“Overall, this budget will force cities and towns to reduce services that they provide and increase reliance on the property tax to balance their budgets,” he said.

Unlike last year’s budget proposed by Patrick, which sought a $1.9 billion tax increase to fund a major expansion of education and transportation programs, this budget outlines more modest tax increases totaling $97 million.

…Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, a left-leaning budget research group, said Patrick’s focus on education and transit is commendable but his ability to make a lasting impact in those areas is limited since he chose not to push for larger tax increases in this budget.

“The governor called it a sensible budget, which I think is somewhat accurate,” Berger said.

But without significant new tax revenue*, you really can’t make the kind of investments that would strengthen our economy in the long-term, substantially, so we see pretty modest investments in things like education.”

from:  Patrick budget puts focus on education, transportation by Michael Levenson, Boston Globe.



* Remember: the Legislature rejected the opportunity to raise significant new revenue in April 2013. Instead of adopting “An Act to Invest in Our Communities” or the Governor’s new revenue proposals, Beacon Hill instead opted for a much smaller revenue package, plugging up some deficits from decade+ of cuts, but not enough to renew significant investment in the future.  See posts on “Campaign for Our Communities” and “Act to Invest

See more from Stacie’s Blogging-The-Governor-Candidates series:


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