To the Editor,
I have placed two questions on the Westfield ballot in November. One is to restore Local Aid. That is the money the cities are supposed to receive from the Lottery Fund, which was created to fund police, fire and education and help with property taxes. The state has taken about a billion dollars out of it over the last ten years, even when the state had billion dollar surpluses? If the state had surpluses, then why were they still taking our money?
The second question asks the state to increase spending on roads. The state passed a 17 billion dollar transportation bond bill, but only allocates 200 million dollars per year, for the entire state for road maintenance. That figure should be 400 to 500 million per year.
I placed the same questions on the ballot in 2014, which voters overwhelmingly approved. Governor Baker, on his first day in office restored 100 million dollars back to the roads. Westfield received an additional 675,000 dollars.
Westfield needs to spend about 7 million dollars per year for 15 years, plus sewer and water, plus storm water money on drains to rebuild our roads. How are the roads?
Care to guess how much Westfield put in FY21 highway budget? 400,000 dollars. This just happens to be the same amount the former Mayor promised would go in the highway budget in order to get the Meals Tax increase passed by the City Council. It passed by a single vote. I voted against increasing the meals tax, because we already pay enough to state and city, and should not increase and rely on Local Option taxes to maintain our roads. The problem is we are not getting what we paid for.
I appreciate when politicians keep their promises because it exceedingly rare these days, but voters should be asking, what happened to the 5 million dollars per year in vehicle excise tax the City collects and the1.2 million dollars in Chapter 90 funds the City receives from the state? Why is there only 400,000 dollars in the highway budget, and what do expect to fix with that amount? Why is the state only spending a nickel out of each transportation dollar on road maintenance?
Boston tells us that they have “given us the tools” to fix our roads, referring to the use of local option taxes.
Asking taxpayers for more money when drivers are already paying enough to maintain the roads is unacceptable to many people once they have enough information. Some politicians are now pushing for municipal and regional ballot initiatives to raise funds to fix our roads. We need to spend more of our transportation dollars on fixing our roads. Increasing local option taxes is not the answer, and will not provide enough funding. To be honest, I do not understand why every Mayor, State Representative and Senator is fighting for this money. Perhaps, this should be a statewide ballot question similar to Repealing Automatic Gas Tax increases and see if can get some results.
I know many people have had enough of paying for services they are not receiving, taxes continually going up, the excuses and being told by politicians there is not enough money.
City Councilor Dan Allie
Candidate for State Rep