SINCE THE GREAT RECESSION OF 2008, Massachusetts cities and towns have been reeling from dwindling tax receipts and cuts to state aid. With sluggish job growth, unrelenting foreclosures and a Congress unwilling to extend more federal stimulus money, the problems are only going to get worse.
This fall, Massachusetts holds its election for governor. This next governor will face a state budget shortfall of $2 billion — maybe as high as $4.5 billion. Mayors and town administrators say they’ve already cut to the bone. Now, they fear they’ll have to cut into bone to survive.
During the week of Sept. 20, WBUR broadcasts live from five communities spanning Route 9 — Framingham, Worcester, Ware, Amherst and Pittsfield — to see how they’re coping.
ALONG THE WAY, we report on the economy — what retail means for Framingham, how Worcester is banking on bio-tech, and whether struggling small-town Ware can live up to its nickname, "The Town That Can't Be Licked."
In Amherst, we hear about the pressure UMass is feeling to boost its academic profile in the face of budget cuts. And we learn about Pittsfield's turn to the creative class to emerge from the long shadow cast after General Electric shuttered its plant there.
Our week-long tour, "Finding A Way Along Route 9," is an attempt to understand the struggles of the whole state, not just Greater Boston, and to try to find where the solutions may lie.
WBUR News Director Martha Little was the series editor. WBUR's Bob Oakes was the series host and creator. WBUR's Lisa Tobin and Dave Shaw were the senior producers. WBUR's Alex Ashlock and Sean Bowditch and Kirk Carapezza and Matt Largey were the producers. WBUR's Glenn Alexander, Michael Garth, George Hicks, Jeffrey Hutton, Michael Leclair, Mike Toda, Karl Voelker, Missy Webb and Doug Wilson were the engineers. WBUR's Martha Bebinger, Deborah Becker, David Boeri, Monica Brady-Myerov, Curt Nickisch, Bianca Vazquez Toness, Fred Thys and Andrea Shea reported. WBUR's Andrew Phelps was the senior Web producer and editor. WBUR's Jesse Costa, John Davidow, Keosha Johnson, Will Smith and Benjamin Swasey and Jess Bidgood and Jeremy Bernfeld produced the series for wbur.org. WBUR's Peter Lydotes, Mike Toda and Michael Garth produced the on-air promotions.