Governor Cuomo is pleased with the outcome of Tuesday’s state wide school budget vote, but teachers and school board leaders see some disturbing trends.
This year’s school budget vote was the first to take place after Governor Andrew Cuomo convinced the legislature to adopt the property tax cap. The governor says the tax cap imposed “fiscal discipline.” He says he’s pleased that few schools attempted to override the cap, and that most schools kept tax increases to a minimum, and were approved by voters. He says tax payers, as well as state government, are tapped out.
The Massachusetts budget proposed by the Senate Ways and Means Committee is winning praise from municipal officials. WAMC’s Lucas Willard reports…
Senate leaders say the spending plan for the fiscal year beginning on July 1 would boost local aid by $275 million over current year levels and provide full funding for unrestricted local aid. An earlier budget proposal by Governor Deval Patrick had made $65 million of unrestricted aid contingent on state revenues reaching certain benchmarks in the current year.
State governments have long lured workers with the promise of lucrative pensions that provide nearly the pay in retirement that employees earned on the job. But after years of budget crunches, nearly every state has revamped public retirement benefits in an effort to shrink the long-term obligations that are billions of dollars short of what is needed to cover benefits.
The moves have triggered a legal and political battle over whether states are reneging on their promises to millions of public-sector workers.
Faced with a major decrease in property tax collections and no expected increase in state aid, budget writers in Springfield Massachusetts are proposing scores of fee hikes. But the city's top finance officer says it still won't be enough to avoid budget cuts. WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports..