Friday, December 21, 2012

MassBudget: Rise and Fall of Local Aid in Massachusetts

MassBudget    Information.
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center    Democracy.
The Rise and Fall of Local Aid
To help close a mid-year budget gap, the Governor has proposed a 1% cut to General Local Aid, a program that provides money to cities and towns for police and fire protection, parks, and other vital local services.

On its own, that is a relatively small part of the Governor's broader cuts. But funding for General Local Aid is already at its lowest point in over three decades. Like so many other programs in the state budget, it has been squeezed by the large revenue shortfalls that followed the income tax cuts of the late 90s.

MassBudget's new report, "The Rise and Fall of Local Aid in Massachusetts" finds that:

  • Total aid to cities and towns--including both General Local Aid and Education funding--declined by $1.7 billion between 1982 and 2012 (adjusted for economic growth).

  • The bulk of that decline--$1.3 billion of the $1.7 billion--comes in the form of reduced funding for General Local Aid (adjusted for economic growth).

An accompanying interactive tool allows you to track changes in General Local Aid for each city and town in Massachusetts.

In addition to this report on Local Aid, MassBudget is also releasing its annual assessment of education funding in Massachusetts, "Public School Funding in Massachusetts: Where We Are, What Has Changed, and How We Compare to Other States."

Using the latest Census data on state-by-state education spending, we find that:
  • Massachusetts devotes a smaller portion of its total resources to education than most states

  • Per-pupil spending in Massachusetts is relatively high (the fact that Massachusetts is a high-income state means that it can spend more than others on a per-pupil basis while still using a smaller percentage of the state's total resources)

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.

BOSTON, MA 02108
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