Likelihood of Local Aid Cut Currently in Doubt

Ian Donnis of WRNI’s On Politics blog points to a Mark Arsenault article in the Boston Globe, mostly about the state government shutdown-days, but that also mentions Governor Donald Carcieri’s plan to eliminate $32 million in local aid to help balance the state budget. According to the spokesman for Rhode Island’s Speaker of the House, the local aid cut requires legislative approval not likely to be forthcoming‚Ķ

The reduction in state aid would require approval by the Legislature, which is unlikely to happen this year. Such a large cut in local aid would generate fierce opposition from municipal officials.
Larry Berman, spokesman for House Speaker William Murphy, said the governor is free to submit the proposal as legislation when the next session of the General Assembly begins in January, and then make a case for the cut within the normal committee process.
I wonder if this reaction comes as a complete surprise to the Governor; if legislative Democrats stick to the position expressed by Mr. Berman, it seems that they will be required to lay out some sort of long-term plan for Rhode Island, choosing either a big tax-increase or big spending cuts as the means for balancing this and next year’s budgets. Could the Governor be content to let this issue be front-and-center in the 2010 legislative session, letting the people make their decision in the 2010 elections about whether they approved of the choices made by the legislature?
Ian Donnis lays out his own thoughts about Rhode Island’s situation in a Boston Globe op-ed available here.

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