Wednesday, December 5, 2012

House Minority Leader’s Statement on Governor Patrick’s Proposal to Cut Local Aid and Reduce Spending for Vital Services

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement today in response to Governor Patrick’s announcement that he plans to cut spending by $225 million and will seek the authority to cut local aid in order to address an estimated $540 million mid-year budget gap:

“The governor’s claim that he is seeking to cut local aid by only 1% is both incorrect and misleading. In fact, the totality of Governor Patrick’s 9C plan would remove nearly $35 million from municipal budgets, a far cry from the $9 million first reported by his administration. Unfortunately, some of these reductions would be to vital local aid accounts such as Special Education Circuit Breaker, Regional School Transportation, and Homeless Student Transportation.

Stagnant economic growth is not limited to national and state governments. Local cities and towns continue to feel the trickle-down effect of a worsening economy. Further paralyzing them through these cuts will only further aggravate the situation. Economic growth will, no doubt, continue to weaken as news of the impending “fiscal cliff” intensifies. Even if a compromise is reached before the end of the year, any mix of spending cuts and tax hikes, however small, will slow the economy even further.

What is abundantly clear is that the Legislature, including Governor Patrick, must exhaust all options for savings at the state level before placing the Commonwealth’s budgetary problems on our local municipalities. Cutting local aid must always be a last resort.”