Rep. Bradley Jones Files Budget Amendment to Restore Local Aid

Bradley Jones

On Wednesday, Representative Bradley Jones filed an amendment to the FY11 budget to level fund local aid. This amendment would restore $200m which is currently slated to be cut from Chapter 70 and Unrestricted Local Aid. Representative Jones proposes raising the Chapter 70 appropriation to $4.05 billion and the Unrestricted Local Aid appropriation to $936 billion. The current appropriations are $3.85 billion and $899 billion respectively.

These budget items are money that the state sends to Massachusetts cities and towns and is used mostly to fund schools. Last year the state cut local aid 12% forcing towns across Massachusetts to cancel many school programs and lay off teachers. If the towns are hit with another local aid cut , towns will be forced to lay off thousands more teachers and police across the state.

“The residents of Massachusetts benefit greatly when cities and towns across the Commonwealth are fully funded,” said the North Reading Republican. “Since the downturn of the economy, communities haves suffered the most, seeing their local aid slashed time and time again. I say enough is enough – no longer should cities and towns bear the burden for poor fiscal management by Democratic leadership on Beacon Hill.”

According to the Governor’s budget office, Massachusetts tax revenues have plummeted nearly $4 billion this year. If all programs were level funded this year, the budget shortfall would be $2.7 billion. With $1.4 billion dollars of Federal stimulus money and other financial adjustments it leaves a gap of $670 million.

Difficult budget decisions have to be made. This puts many state programs in competition with local aid. The Governor’s budget would level fund local aid. The Legislature’s budget would take 1/3rd of the shortfall and pass it on to our cities and towns, on top of last year’s devastating cuts. And while local aid would received yet another cut, the entire budget increases spending by 3.2%.

Meanwhile legislators are busy proposing nearly 900 amendments which would further increase spending. It’s worth opening up some of the amendments at random to see the kinds of things they want to spend money on instead of our public schools.

GateHouse News Service has an analysis of the Governor’s budget and the House budget.

This amendment is similar to a resolution filed in March to level fund local aid. It was signed on to by the entire Republican delegation and many independent Democrats. Level funding local aid is opposed by Speaker Robert DeLeo, and many legislators are afraid to support local aid for fear of displeasing the speaker.

The supporters of the resolution in March were:

  • Rep. Jim Arciero (D)
  • Rep. Brian Ashe (D)
  • Rep. Jay Barrows  (R)
  • Rep. Bill Bowles (D)
  • Rep. Vinny deMacedo (R)
  • Rep. Steven DiNatale (D)
  • Rep. Jim Dwyer (D)
  • Rep. Lew Evaneglidis (R)
  • Rep. Paul Frost (R)
  • Rep. Sean Garballey (D)
  • Rep. Colleen Garry (D)
  • Rep. Susan Gifford (R)
  • Rep. Bob Hargraves (R)
  • Rep. Lida Harkins (D)
  • Rep. Brad Hill (R)
  • Rep. Don Humason (R)
  • Rep. Paul McMurty (D)
  • Rep. James Miceli (D)
  • Rep. Jeff Perry (R)
  • Rep. George Peterson (R)
  • Rep. Smitty Pignateli (D)
  • Rep. Betty Poirier (R)
  • Rep. Karyn Polito (R)
  • Rep. Angelo Puppolo (D)
  • Rep. Michael Rodrigues (D)
  • Rep. John Rogers (D)
  • Rep. Dennis Rosa (D)
  • Rep. Richard Ross (R)
  • Rep. Frank Smizik (D)
  • Rep. Todd Smola (R)
  • Rep. Joyce Spiliotis (D)
  • Rep. Thomas Stanley (D)
  • Rep. Dan Webster (R)

Theses legislators were not enough to allow the resolution to even be debated. Hopefully, with enough public pressure, more legislators will sign on to the amendment and force the House leadership level fund our schools.

Now is the time to call your local legislator and make sure they sign on to this budget amendment.

There is a similar but more modest amendment filed by a small number of House Democrats which would restore $116 million dollars to Chapter 70 local aid. The co-sponsors of that amendment are :

  • Rep. Sandlin
  • Rep. Rodrigues
  • Rep. Khan
  • Rep. McCarthy
  • Rep. Dwyer
  • Rep. Creedon
  • Rep. Quinn
  • Rep. Benson
  • Rep. Falzone
  • Rep. Atsalis

2 Comments

  • April 26, 2010 - 12:02 am | Permalink

    What an upside down world we live in. Democrats are the ones who are supposed to be supporting local aid to schools right?

  • April 25, 2010 - 8:02 pm | Permalink

    What an upside down world we live in. Democrats are the ones who are supposed to be supporting local aid to schools right?

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