LETTER: Promises Made And Promises Not KeptNov 07, 2014 06:17AM ● By Bill Gilman
To The Editor:
Having been a member of the Tewksbury Board of Selectmen for 6 years, I witnessed firsthand the continual decline in unrestricted local aid to the cities and towns. Over the years we have been told that excess $$ under the bottle bill would be redistributed to the cities and towns. We have been told that increases in the sales tax would benefit the cities and towns. Again, we were told that the lottery monies would help significantly reduce real estate taxes.
Take a look at the data I have compiled directly off of the State web-site. These are actual dollars and do not account for inflation. If they did, the picture would be even worse. I would like to propose over the next 3 fiscal years all newly elected officials take a pledge that “unrestricted local aid” will be 6% of the state budget over that period.
In my opinion, it is time for our newly elected State officials to step up and support the citizens who elect them. Please let the cities and towns make the decisions as to what their priorities should be. They are the ones closest to the problems and they should be setting the priorities. Please call your State Legislator and advise him or her that the State exists because of the cities and towns and these entities should be their top priority.
One of the other problems with “unrestricted local aid” is the formula for how that money is distributed. In talking with various members of the legislature, there are only 5 or 6 people in the entire State that understand the formula for the distribution of this aid. Let’s make it simple. Allocate the dollars based upon the population of that particular city or town as a percentage of the total population. Let’s keep it simple.