Time for Cities and Towns to Tighten Their Belts
From today’s ProJo:
With the state facing a budget hole as high as $450 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1, House Finance Committee Chairman Steven M. Costantino, D-Providence, yesterday urged municipalities to craft their own budgets with the understanding “that the state is facing a serious, serious deficit…. I would not expect any increase in local aid, not just education aid.”
There was an uproar in May when the General Assembly approved the current budget without an increase in education aid. But local leaders likely won’t be caught by surprise this year, said Dan Beardsley, head of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns.
“Anyone who fully understands the magnitude of that deficit surely understands why there’s not going to be any additional aid in any local aid category,” he said. “I just hope we don’t see any reduction. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t get to that.”
Sorry Mr. Beardsley, I think it has to get to that. The FY08 aid to cities and towns was $250,349,882. At this point, I’d say just cut it all. Make city and town governments do their part to trim their budgets. If that means renegotiating contracts and cutting services, so be it.