On Wednesday, April 13, 2011, Mayor Thomas M. Menino presented his $2.4 billion Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2012 and five year $1.7 billion Capital Plan, including $168.7 million in new FY 2012 project authorizations. The FY 2012 budget includes a $30.14 million appropriation for the Boston Public Library — that is less than a 1% decrease from FY 2011 funding levels.
The $2.4 billion recommended FY 2012 Operating Budget features a modest 2.5-percent growth over last year’s budget, an increase of $58.7 million. Property taxes continue to be the City’s largest source of revenue, along with hotel, meals and other excise tax revenue. The City’s second largest source of revenue, state aid from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is expected to decline by more than $37 million from FY 2011 budgeted levels. Another effect of the recession, state aid has consistently declined over the last 10 years, falling $218 million since 2002.
One of the biggest expenses for the City of Boston and many municipalities in the Commonwealth continues to be the rapidly rising cost of employee health care. This year, the City of Boston will spend $315 million, 13-percent of the total budget, on employee health premiums. The City’s health care expenses have increased 142-percent over the last decade, far outpacing the rate of inflation and revenue growth.