Officials in cash-strapped Massachusetts cities and towns warn their communities will be crippled by a major cut predicted in local aid from the state next year.
WBUR's Abigail Beshkin reports.
House Speaker Sal DiMasi says cities and towns could see their aid from the state slashed by as much as 10 percent in fiscal year 2010.
Governor Deval Patrick says he wants to spare cities and towns, but that might not be possible.
PATRICK: We have done as much as we can to try to hold local aid and school funding harmless, but as I've said all along, if we need to go deeper we will go deeper.
DiMasi says he'll propose legislation to make it easier for cities and towns to bypass local unions and save money by joining the state's group insurance plan.
The speaker also appears to be softening his stance on a Patrick proposal to allow cities and towns to raise money by imposing a meals tax, or by taxing telecom companies on their telephone poles and other equipment.
This program aired on December 9, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.