Governor Pushes For More Municipal Funding

By Sarah Birnbaum

Jan. 25, 2012

BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick is pushing for an overall increase in state aid to cities and towns in his budget proposal for the coming fiscal year, but his pitch might not win support from the Legislature.
Last week the Patrick administration told municipal leaders that his budget will level fund direct aid to cities and towns and boost local education aid by $145 million or 3.6 percent. Needless to say, municipal leaders were pleased.
But now House and Senate leaders say they’re not ready to promise the same level of funding. Patrick will release his entire budget proposal on Wednesday. The House and Senate will release their versions in the spring.
House Speaker Robert Deleo, D-Winthrop, says it’s too early to commit to a number.
“I think it’s premature to say what we can or can’t do until we step up to the plate,” he said.
Senate President Therese Murray, D-Plymouth, says she wants to wait until she knows more about projected state tax revenues and federal allotments. 
But Governor Patrick played down the differences.
“Everybody knows this is a challenging budget, but what has distinguished us in the Commonwealth from most other states is that as we have had to make tough choices we’ve continued to invest in things that make a difference. The leaders understand that and support that strategy.”

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