BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — Slow revenue growth has prompted Governor Deval Patrick to propose hundreds of millions of dollars in budget cuts to address a $540 million dollar budget gap.
“I don’t think it’s a cause for panic because we have a plan,” said Patrick at a State House news conference Tuesday.
Patrick outlined a plan to cut $225 million dollars from state agencies, eliminate 700 new state employee jobs and ask the Legislature for the power to cut another $9 million dollars from city and town budgets – Something municipalities plan to fight.
“Every community will be impacted … and they’ll have to take reductions in programs and services or transfers,” said Massachusetts Municipal Association executive director Geoff Beckwith. “We will certainly be requesting that the Legislature not grant this expanded authority.
Though state tax collections are higher than this time last year, they’re not growing as fast as projected. Governor Patrick blamed the lagging revenues on the so-called fiscal cliff talks in Washington. He called on Congress and the president to negotiate a balanced deal to address the federal deficit by the end of the year, or else Massachusetts could see more reductions.
“We could be looking at another up $200-300 million dollars in lost tax revenue if they don’t resolve it, all the economists are assuming a partial resolution to it,” said Administration & Finance Secretary Jay Gonzalez.
As part of Governor Patrick's plan, he will reduce courtroom budgets, cut special education and draw $200 million dollars from the state’s rainy day fund. But Patrick says nearly all programs and services will receive no less funding than last year.
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