Mayor Walsh Warns Of Possible Midyear Cuts To City Budget

BOSTON (State House News Service) — After trimming its budget by $65 million to cope with pandemic impacts, the City of Boston may need to impose additional cuts during the year if the economic outlook remains bleak, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said Thursday.

Walsh told business leaders that he had been lucky to have surpluses during each of his first six years as mayor before the pandemic struck, but uncertainty about tax revenues and local aid from the state means further belt-tightening is possible.

"There could be a midyear cut as well," Walsh said, pointing to possible cuts in education spending as a result of local aid payments remaining at fiscal 2020 levels at the start of the fiscal 2021. "If we go into a recession here in Boston, that potentially is also going to be COVID-related but then it'll take on a life of its own."

The public health crisis spawned an economic crisis as businesses, forced to shut down to prevent transmission of the virus, laid off record numbers of employees and tax revenues plummeted.

Massachusetts has been making progress in limiting spread of COVID, but Walsh warned Thursday during a virtual appearance at the New England Council that a second surge in the fall or winter could redouble financial strain.

"If we have to shut everything down again, you're going to see businesses on the edge of returning that won't return," he said.

By Chris Lisinski, State House News Service

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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