BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — Legislative leaders say theyâ€™ve done a lot to help out cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth and Springfield will have to make an exceptional case if it wants additional state aid. Mayor Domenic Sarnoâ€™s tight budget proposal for Springfield includes several service cuts, fee hikes and layoffs.
â€śYou know Iâ€™m not sure if they can make a case that their situation is a whole lot different than any other city or town,â€ť said House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop).
DeLeo doubts the Legislature will give extra funding to Springfield. The House has already passed a state budget that increases Springfieldâ€™s education aid to nearly $286 million dollars and unrestricted local aid to more than $32 million dollars.
â€śWe had a budget that was praised by the Mass Municipal Association, which consists of mayors, councilors, all the select people â€¦as probably one of the most friendliest budgets that weâ€™ve ever had relative to local aid,â€ť said DeLeo.
The Legislature is currently consolidating two versions of the state budget. Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said the Senate is negotiating with the House to offer even more funding.
â€śThe Senate does offer more state aid, unencumbered state aid and more education funds in the Senate budget so â€¦hopefully the Senate will prevail on those and Springfield will get additional funds,â€ť said Murray.
Some lawmakers expressed concern that two years ago, Mayor Sarno returned a $23 million no-interest loan to the state that was given to Springfield in the days when its finances were taken over by a state-mandated Control Board.
â€śIt doesnâ€™t make any sense that one minute youâ€™re giving back millions of dollars and you donâ€™t need it and the next minute you need more money and youâ€™re actually targeting the taxpayers for it,â€ť said Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera (D-Springfield). â€śOverall it just doesnâ€™t look like good government from the City of Springfield.â€ť
In a media release, Mayor Sarnoâ€™s office said the loan was returned based on a rumor that the state would eventually request payment of the loan in full.
In May, Sarno visited legislative leaders to pitch various revenue proposals. The House Speaker said he considers Sarno a good friend and is open to further talks with him.
Copyright 2013 WWLP TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Did you like this article? Vote it up or down! And don't forget to add your comments below!