A Cold Wind is Blowing – More shortfalls, more headaches

News out of Beacon Hill reveals the state is going to be short on cash to the tune of $900 million to $1 billion in the next budget go around.

This comes as shocking news to mayors and town governments all over the Commonwealth.

Such a deficit will vastly affect municipal services and public education in this city.

Legislators have a number of choices on how to deal with closing the shortfall.

State taxes and fees can be increased and/or aid to the cities and towns can be greatly reduced.

State jobs will be cut dramatically.

Thousands will be laid off.

State offices will be closed or consolidated or both.

The national debate about health care reform will hit home, also.

Every city and town will be forced to cut the amount of money they pay toward employee health insurance. In other words, city and town employees and state employees will join the rest of us in having to pay a good portion of their health insurance premiums.

The yearly increase in Revere for health insurance premium payments for city employees has been $2 to $3 million a year for the past five years.

City unions are still opposed to joining a multi-city pool of premium payers that would cut the city’s premium bill by 15 percent.

By this time next year, city government here could be in a death type spiral with dramatic cuts changing the face of public service and the schools.

There will be no way around it.

A cold wind is blowing. The storm is building in power.

Something is going to have to give.

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