To the Editor,
Last Thursday, the State House passed their budget totaling 46 billion dollars. Despite declining revenue of about three billion dollars due to job losses and policies that are hamstringing our economy, the state budget grew by hundreds of millions of dollars.
Consider that just five years ago, the budget was 36.5 billion dollars. I wish to thank the Westfield voters who strongly supported the local ballot questions by a 3 to 1 margin to restore Local Aid and increase state funding for roads. Each question received about 12,000 votes. I assume a few thousand voters did not realize there were questions on the back of the ballot, which would have increased the vote total even higher. The results will be read in the State House at the beginning of the next legislative session.
I honestly do not understand why every Mayor, state representative and senator is not fighting for this money. With a 43 billion dollar state budget and a 16.9 billion dollar transportation bond bill, there is no excuse why Massachusetts residents, drivers and taxpayers do not receive the services they pay for when they buy gasoline and lottery tickets. God knows that cities could use the local aid funds to help avoid raising property and “local option” taxes. Consider this: Most of the budget process was handled behind closed doors in private Zoom meetings, and after the election. Massachusetts is one of the few legislatures in the country that exempts itself from both the public records law and the open meeting law. Massachusetts is the only state in the country that exempts the legislature, judiciary, and Governor’s office from the state’s public records law. What could possibly go wrong?
Isn’t it comforting to know that our elected representatives and the special interests that help elect them have thought of everything? Where is the transparency? What happened to “taxation with representation?” It really is sad to realize that the birthplace of the American Revolution that resulted in the greatest freedoms and prosperity the world has ever known has become such a hotbed of complacency. Where is our media coverage on this? Asking for a friend. The state senate begins debate on a similar budget this week. Just move along citizen, nothing to see here, folks.
City Councilor Dan Allie