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Budget cuts hit services hard

Unions denounce Quinn Bill cuts

November 01, 2009
Gov. Deval Patrick has dealt a major blow to educational incentive pay police receive.

"It's a shame," said Charlton Police Sgt. Graham Maxfield, who serves as the President of the Charlton Police Alliance Union.

In response to filling a large gap in the state budget, Patrick announced Thursday he would cut $5 million, of $10 million, from Police Career Incentive Pay Program (PCIPP), commonly known as the Quinn Bill. The program provides extra money to officers who obtain higher education degrees. Towns have typically foot the entire bill upfront, but receive a 50 percent reimbursement from the state. The most recent cut comes after Patrick gutted most of the program's funding during the last fiscal year.

Separately, Patrick said he would not cut aid to local communities, or Chapter 70 educational funding.

Patrick also announced he would file legislation to let communities out of their portion of the Quinn Bill's obligations. He also proposed establishing a commission to generate new methods for supporting officers education.

The governor's cut in police education bonuses left area officers and selectmen voicing various opinions about the future of the payments. Patrick's proposal to give towns options to make the payments is a good idea, said Selectmen Chairman Rick Swensen.

See Tuesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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