Editorial: Crisis looming for Worcester, state budgets

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The City Council finalized Worcester’s fiscal year 2017 budget on Tuesday night. It passed the budget recommended by City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr., with one major exception.

Striking $3 million in payments to the North High School Stabilization Fund reduced the municipal budget to $611 million, an increase of roughly $13 million from fiscal 2016. The increase will mean a property tax increase but not to the 2 ½ percent allowed by law.

CityHall_SpringIn one respect, completing a budget provides a five-month respite before the political issue of taxes rears its head again when the tax-rate debate is picked up in the fall.

From State House News Service: Tax revenue shortfall threatens 2017 state budget viability

However, doing so fails to consider slow, inexorable forces in the economy that portend a fundamental re-evaluation in how municipalities such as Worcester pay for the services residents are accustomed to receiving.

The forces are the proliferation of land or buildings exempt from property taxes and the underfunding of education and pensions.

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