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Burlington Relatively Unscathed By State Aid Cuts

Town Administrator said the bigger problems could come in 2014.

Gov. Deval Patrick announced plans to close a $540 million state budget deficit this week through a combination of cuts and transfers from the state's "rainy day" fund.

The proposed cuts, some of which require the approval of the legislature, would reduce the state's planned aid to Burlington in the current fiscal year, FY2013, by roughly $70,000.

While that may seem like a lot of money, Town Administrator John Petrin said he is not too worried about the impact.

"It's not going to have a lot of impact at this point in time," Petrin said. "I certainly have concern moving forward for what FY14 will bring. But as far as fiscal year '13 the numbers we've seen, I think, will impact the reserve aspect of the accounts. 1 percent of state aid is not a huge total for us."

Petrin did say the town would have to take a closer look at the impact the cuts may have on special education funding.

In the end, though, he said the bigger problems could be coming down the road. If Congress doesn't come to agreement on the debt ceiling and fiscal cliff and the federal government has to make steep funding cuts to state aid, that would have a more profound impact, Petrin said. 

"The federal situation could mean bigger cuts to the state, which means the state government would have to look at all aspects of its spending, which includes local aid," he explained. "It's the trickle down affect and we're at the bottom."

State Sen. Ken Donnelly said he would oppose the cuts to local aid. In a statement released by his press secretary his office stated:

"Sen. [Ken] Donnelly would not approve these cuts.  The senator understands there is a revenue problem in the commonwealth, but would need to see the whole package of cuts in order to determine whether or not he agrees that it represents the best way to solve it. In general, he is not in favor of local aid cuts. He is also not in favor of cuts that disproportionally affect our most vulnerable residents." — Hannah Buntich, spokeswoman for Sen. Ken Donnelly

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