The House of Representatives is getting ready to vote tomorrow (Wednesday, Jan. 14) on whether or not to give Gov. Patrick expanded powers — known as 9C powers — to cut this year’s budget.

The governor is asking for the power to cut local aid and aid to schools (Chapter 70), among other areas.

We are well aware of the dire condition of our state economy, but cutting local aid will make matters in Hamilton and Wenham much worse than they already are. Cuts to our schools would happen between now and June.

Our State Rep. Brad Hill is voting against this measure. (Scroll down for the press release that covers his alternate proposal.) Hill asks that school supporters and townspeople make their opinions known to the Speaker of House, Sal DiMasi, before the vote tomorrow.

If you agree the budget shortfall should not be balanced on the backs of local towns and school systems:

Call the speaker’s office at 617-722-2500. Give the operator your name and town and say you’re asking the Speaker "not to include local aid in the request to expand the governor’s 9C powers." That’s all you need to do.

or

Email DiMasi at [email protected] and do the same — include your name and town and ask him "not to include local aid in the request to expand the governor’s 9C powers."

(Elected officials give much higher priority to phone calls than emails. Please call if you can.)

If the vote does pass — and Brad has warned us that it might — we’ll be back in touch to tell you how to lobby Deval Patrick directly to protect our local aid. But let’s not let it get that far — please call Rep. DiMasi today.

Thanks for taking action.

SOS

HILL, REPUBLICANS AGAINST LOCAL AID CUTS

Opposes Giving the Governor Expanded 9C Powers

Boston- Representative Bradford R. Hill (Ipswich-R) and his colleagues in the Republican Caucus are calling on Governor Patrick to release a detailed plan, laying out how he intends to use expanded 9C powers, should the House and Senate grant him the opportunity.

Given the fiscal crisis the Commonwealth is currently facing, the Governor has requested the expanded powers in order to make cuts which the Caucus believes are necessary in order to stabilize our state’s financial footing.  However, while we acknowledge the Governor will likely make cuts to local aid, we stand adamantly against those cuts, as we feel any mid-year cuts would be devastating to our communities across the state.

“When Governor Romney asked for these expanded powers back in 2003 he gave the Legislature a very detailed plan of what he intended to cut and how much it would be,” said Hill, “in order for the Legislature to do its job properly, it is imperative to know exactly what Governor Patrick intends to cut and how much!”

Last October, the Governor made $625 million worth of 9C cuts.  The members of the Republican caucus urged the Governor to cut more at that time, so the Commonwealth would not be in its current situation.  Every member of the Republican Caucus voted against the FY09 budget, knowing it was unsustainable.  After the $28.2 billion budget passed, the Governor vetoed far too little and the Legislature overrode far too much.

Hill warned his fellow Legislators that history could repeat itself.  “Many of the School Districts across the Commonwealth have never gotten back the monies that were cut in 2003 despite the fact the Legislature has allocated and additional $3.5 Billion to the Chapter 70 Fund (School Funding),” Hill said.

Hill continued, “Also, the Legislature needs to understand that cities and towns have also seen cuts already in this fiscal year through a drop in excise taxes as well as property taxes. Giving the Governor these expanded powers would be the third bloodline cities and towns would see reduced.”

Communities across the Commonwealth depend on local aid to fund their budgets.  Cities and towns are already making cuts to essential services in order to stay afloat.  Cutting local aid this late in the game would severely paralyze services Bay State residents have come to depend on.

“It is my hope that Governor Patrick uses other means to bring the budget into balance.  We suggest filing supplemental appropriations bills to significantly reduce spending in accounts not under the current 9C authority.” 

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