Local Aid Update

News reports of yesterday’s closed-door house caucus — to the effect that cuts of roughly 5% in local aid are likely — are correct.

Yesterday the House Ways and Means Chair presented an analysis to House Democrats. The bottom line of that analysis was that if we keep local aid entirely harmless, the adjustable portions of the state budget — lifeline human services, parks, roads, courts, prisons, etc. would have to take a cut on the order of fifteen percent. That doesn’t seem feasible and so there is likely to be some sharing of the pain.

The power point from the meeting can be viewed here.

The caucus also was an opportunity for members to air differences regarding municipal health insurance — there were a wide range of views, but an increasing sense that if we are going to limit local aid, we are going to need to help municipalities on the cost side.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

10 replies on “Local Aid Update”

  1. Will,
    Ball park numbers… How much would Bel/Arl/Cam lose at a 5% cut and how much is a 5% cut overall?

    1. 5% of last year’s local aid (Chapter 70 and Unrestricted General Government Aid) works out as follows.

      Arlington: $ 686K
      Belmont: $ 394K
      Cambridge: $1,403K

      Overall, 5% of the local aid budget is about $250 million.

      1. Thanks for the numbers. So the chart would like this:

        Arlington Aid Cut $686,000 Join GIC save $5,600,000
        Belmont Aid Cut $394,000 Join GIC save N/A
        Cambridge Aid Cut $1,403,000 Join GIC save $4,400,000

        Are you kidding me that in this economy there are fellow politicians fighting you on this? Think about what the Unions are saying NO to when they refuse to join the GIC? They are basically sacrificing the jobs of those with the least tenure to protect perks for those with the most. How many jobs would Arlington save with that $5.6m? Insanity. To be fair several Unions voluntarily joined in good faith but the one’s who don’t get a lion’s share of the blame for pending layoffs.

        1. “…what the Unions are saying NO to when they refuse to join the GIC? They are basically sacrificing the jobs of those with the least tenure to protect perks for those with the most.”

          I agree with you on this. Furthermore, there is something called the social contract, in this case the obligation of towns to provide services to ALL taxpayers, INCLUDING the Unions’ pensioners who negotiated these perks years ago. We all put in (taxes) and we all benefit, and when times are tough we all share in that too, and what Local Aid there is goes further if people with the most perks take the most consequences.

  2. Like the Medical Industrial Complex, the education system is headed for a train wreck, and very soon now. Why? Because, like the Medical system, it fails to deliver good value for the dollar anymore. I’ve been saying this for many years, by now. I’m amazed at how many good meaning adults shut off their minds when it comes to alternatives to what we presently know as public schools. How else can I put it? The emperor has no clothes? The system is antiquated, inefficient, politically tied up in knots, and entrenched. The fighting over charter schools alone is absurd. The mis-understandings and myths about home based education persist. Innovation needs to be supported in all areas outside the current system! Yet what we are doing now continues to suck municipal budgets dry.

    So. It looks like I won’t have to be ‘singing in the dark’ much longer. If we lose 5% of local aid this year, then we have to live with it. Fighting to get more money from state government simply isn’t going to work. If we are too stubborn to let go of the current pubic school system and try new things, then the economy is going to do it for us (that’s all just us, the public, by the way, saying we want something on the one hand, and unable to afford it or unwilling to pay for it on the other hand). So don’t blame government. Government is just trying to respond, feebly, to what we are telling it. And what we are telling it is ‘keep our schools but no more taxes.” What hypocrisy! We can’t have it both ways. And since we really don’t have the money, we’re going to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the future where, hopefully, learning relevant to life will prevail.

    And don’t ask me what my solution is. I’m not the repository of all solutions to the current educational system quagmire. There are plenty of good ideas (and people implementing them) going on out there right now. Just open your mind, open your eyes and go look for them!

    1. It’s not magic bullet in the short run, but I’m hopeful that information technology will help us deliver richer content in a variety of ways that will help us improve education without raising costs.

  3. Will,
    Didn’t the Senate pass the FMAP extension yesterday? That would bring us the $608M in “questionable revenue”, right?

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