Still, residents should not let their hopes soar. Eliminating waste is unlikely to be enough. According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, since the recession began, Massachusetts has cut about $3 billion in spending. The reductions hit cities and towns especially hard. Comparing fiscal 2009 with Governor Patrick’s fiscal 2012 budget proposal, the center projected a drop in unrestricted local aid of $528 million, or almost 40 percent. Education has suffered big losses as well.