State planning more belt-tightening

The Patrick administration is telling executive branch agencies they should prepare for an 8 percent spending cut in fiscal 2010, which starts next July.

One source told me that Leslie Kirwan, the governor’s secretary of administration and finance, used the 8 percent figure in a budget meeting with county sheriffs today. The source said that Kirwan, preparing for the release of the governor’s fiscal 2010 budget in January, stressed that the new spending reductions would come on top of cuts already ordered to balance this year’s spending plan.

Cyndi Roy, Kirwan’s spokeswoman, declined to provide any details.

"We are beginning conversations with all agencies, including the sheriffs, about their budgets for FY10," Roy said in an email. "It’s too soon to say, however, what those budgets will ultimately look like."

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Until now, the Patrick administration has focused on bringing this year’s $28.2 billion budget into balance. Last month, the governor announced a plan to close an estimated deficit of $1.4 billion by cutting spending and tapping the state’s rainy day reserve fund. Spending cuts totaled more than $900 million, or about 3 percent of the overall spending plan.

Kirwan’s comments today indicate the cutting is far from over. With the economy sliding into recession, the administration is apparently contemplating even bigger cuts in next year’s budget.