This Boston Globe article, which ran in Saturday's business section, does an excellent job of describing exactly how state and local budget cuts slow down the economy. The article talks about Billy's Cafe in Fall River, a restaurant popular with the city's police officers. But since 2000, Fall River has lost more than $18 million in local aid annually, and in 2009 the city was forced to lay off 25% of its police officers. Billy's Cafe, in turn, lost much of its repeat business and the restaurant is now closing on December 31st.
This scene has been playing out all over Massachusetts - and indeed the country - throughout this anemic economy recovery. Growth in the private sector economy since 2009, when the recession ended, has been hampered by the ongoing weakness of the public sector. To have a robust economy, we need a strong, healthy private sector and a strong, healthy public sector. Indeed, one is dependent on the other, and we can't get there with endless budget cuts to the kinds of public programs and services that make Massachusetts a great place to work, live and raise a family.
This is why we need tax reform that raises substantial new revenue, revenue we can invest in our communities to keep both our public and our private sector economies strong.