MA Governor's Budget Cuts Hit Dozens of Fire Departments

Jan. 12, 2024
Gov. Maura Healey will cut $1.6 million in funding directed to 33 fire departments for fire stations, equipment, cancer prevention and other program.

BOSTON — Nearly three dozen cities and towns across Massachusetts will be receiving less money from the state than initially expected for their fire departments after the Healey Administration wiped out nearly $2 million in local earmarks this week.

Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts says it determined the $375 million in budget cuts Gov. Maura Healey made as Massachusetts faces an expected $1 billion shortfall this fiscal year includes roughly $1.68 million for local fire departments.

“The majority of these cuts are reducing local ‘earmarks’ by 50%,” PFFM President Richard MacKinnon wrote in a Thursday letter to local union heads across the Commonwealth.

Healey’s administration made the massive reduction to the budget in response to six months of missed revenue marks.

In total, 33 cities and towns, including Boston, Everett, Quincy and Worcester, are all receiving less money than expected, MacKinnon said.

MacKinnon highlighted how the Easton Fire Department is now getting $50,000 for equipment purchases instead of the initial $100,000, while the Taunton Fire Department, slated to be awarded $500,000 for upgrades to a fire station, is being shortchanged $250,000.

“We will continue to dig into these cuts and advocate for the funding to be restored,” MacKinnon wrote. “We implore you to start conversations with your Fire Chiefs and local elected officials to determine how these budget cuts may impact your members.”

The Barnstable County Fire and Rescue Training Academy and a statewide cancer screening program for firefighters are also losing out on money, MacKinnon said.

In a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, the PFFM highlighted that it did not endorse Healey in the last gubernatorial election.

Healey, in a letter to the Legislature, said the cuts overall were tailored to cause as little impact to the state’s population as possible.

“In crafting spending reductions we have done our very best to protect investments that are critical to Massachusetts’ future, limit impacts to programs and services and to avoid negative impacts to the most vulnerable of our residents,” she wrote.

Firefighters and local elected officials across the state reacted to the development on social media, many of whom blasted Healey for not prioritizing public safety.

“Our public safety including Sharon Local 1880 are at the forefront of actively assisting our new residents who have been placed in town,” Sharon Select Board member Hanna Switlekowski said in a post on X. “It’s crucial we continue to support our public safety colleagues.”


©2024 MediaNews Group, Inc. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Voice Your Opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Firehouse, create an account today!