Additional Assistance is Gone?

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The Governor’s Budget was released today (well, some of it anyway, it’s four hours after the formal release and none of the companion bills are available yet).

One really surprising finding was the elimination of Additional Assistance, a roughly $380 million piece of local aid. To see who gets what currently from this line item, look here.

In principle, this is a good idea. Additional Assistance stands out among a variety of local aid programs as having almost no rationale for the distribution of aid (unlike lottery and chapter 70 education aid). But as a practical matter, it’s a pretty big pill for certain municipalities, like Boston ($164 million of a $2.1 billion budget), to swallow, particularly in a single gulp.

In reality, this is a challenge for the House and Senate, who will face inexorable pressure to put at least some of the money back in the budget, requiring cuts elsewhere.