Governor Deval Patrick says he will have to cut state aid to cities and towns by $128 million next week to help close a $1 billion budget deficit.
Patrick told the Massachusetts Municipal Association that, while he was able to avoid local aid cuts in the fall, he now must make these cuts as a last resort.
"In October, as you know, we identified and closed a $1.4 billion budget gap. Because of further economic deterioration since then we have to squeeze another $1 billion from the state budget by the end of this month.
The governor also says he'll seek a one percent increase in the state meals tax, which would generate $150 million for cities and towns.
And he said he would not cut state educational assistance to cities and towns for the remainder of this fiscal year. He would not make the same pledge for the 2010 fiscal year beginning in July.
This program aired on January 23, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.