More Cuts Coming

The Governor yesterday announced to the media that the state budget remains about one billion dollars short, which will trigger a new round of budget cuts that likely will include local aid.

Governor Deval Patrick said yesterday that he was preparing for up to $1 billion in additional budget cuts, raising the specter of reductions in aid to municipalities, more layoffs of state employees, and drastic cutbacks in the services that state government provides to its residents. “There’s a lot of pain, and it’s going to have to be spread around,” Patrick told reporters during a 30-minute briefing in his State House office. “Nobody’s enjoying this. This is incredibly difficult.”

While the Governor states the obvious in terms of difficulty it was not apparent from his news conference that he will couple his proposed cuts to local aid with a forceful demand that the legislature grant additional management tools to municipalities that will help us to manage these cuts so that we can stretch our remaining dollars as far as possible. If these cuts are made mid year to localities without such a political effort it would be nothing short of an outrage. I am continually amazed that solutions that force layoffs of union workers always seem to trump solutions that will save union jobs.

The Governor will not be condemned for making cuts that budget realities are forcing on him. There are two questions however that come to mind immediately. The first is the Governor’s initial budget estimates. At the begining of the budget process Michael Widmer predicted a multi-billion dollar shortfall. Why was the Governor so off in his estimates, and why has he waited so long to act? These cuts, made at the begining of the budget cycle, would have been painful. Now, midyear, they will be catastrophic. The second question relates to what I spoke of above. Where is the political effort to promote a wider range of management options for localities that will enable us to manage our funds more efficiently? As we move forward into what will likely be the most serious shrinking of government in our lifetime incremental changes in the burdensome laws that handcuff localities will not do. We need real change, right now. That is the difficult part. Cutting numbers on a spreadsheet and listening to some protests from local officials. That is not nearly as difficult.

This entry was posted in Methuen, Municipal Finance, State News and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to More Cuts Coming

  1. Gerard Donahue says:

    Mayor Manzi:

    How will Methuen be affected by reduced in local aid or the cuts mentioned?

    Gerard

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  2. - says:

    What about retirements and not filling positions hiring freezes…have these been looked into?

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  3. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    I read with amazement the following paragraph (written in your own hand;

    “If these cuts are made mid year to localities without such a political effort it would be nothing short of an outrage. I am continually amazed that solutions that force layoffs of union workers always seem to trump solutions that will save union jobs”.

    I was almost proud of you until I realized you were looking to protect about 12% of workers (union membership) and I assume you meant mean to hell with the other non union members who aren’t even mentioned or employed. Please correct me if I have misjudged you.

    You progressive credentials are restored.

    I fully support your call for more local management autonomy. I think no one else will. The citizens, in general, don’t care (unless its to legalize pot) So I guess it’s just you, me and Steve Baddour.

    What I want to know is why the towns have to suffer when on the first day of taking office “Tax Cut” Deval restored Rommney’s budget cut of 1/2 billion and went on a spending spree, 20 billion for roads, 2 billion to fix the state schools, 1 billion for the Bio Business, etc, etc.

    Why can’t he drop those line items. How about firing his next door neighbor he just hired after he announce layoffs. (I believe this new guy’s wife was Deval’s secretary until she was let go. It won’t save much but it would be the right thing to do. Oh, never mind, that won’t happen.

    You know that gives me an idea, instead of waisting yor time with the Massachusetts politburo…er legislature how about making big donations to Deval’s campaign fund. It works for others including his next store neighbor, staff and all the judicial appointees.

    Happy New Year, to you and yours.

    Jules

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  4. Bill Manzi says:

    Jules,
    You have misjudged me (I think). The point I was making had to do with the city workforce, which is unioned. And that point is that it appears that rather than “spreading” some of the pain around some union folks believe it is better to take layoffs. And hence my point that rather than enact solutions that will in the end “save union jobs” (i.e. city workers) by allowing some additional management flexibility some would rather lose jobs.

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  5. Bill Manzi says:

    Gerard and Anonymous,

    A mid year cut will lead to a real cut in personnel and services to our citizens. How deep depends on the size of the Governor’s cuts. In terms of freezes and slowing down discretionary spending we have already done that. As an example we have over five unfilled slots in DPW. These items will help when the cuts come, but will not be enough to satisfy the amount we likely will need to cut.

    Bill

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  6. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    I get the union thing. Time for that at some future discussion.

    The question I pose to you is, how can you raise real estate taxes when people are losing their jobs and retirees (like me) are facing inflation as this bailout fiasco forces the federal government to print more money?

    Jules

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  7. J. Bess says:

    When is the Gov expected to release the number of cuts being made ?

    Also,I have read in other communities that certain depts were laying off supervisors and the top heavy end rather than the little guys. Your thoughts on that ?

    Like

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