Baker's 9C Cuts Deal Devastating Blow To Tewksbury's 'Into Action Recovery' Plans
Dec 16, 2016 04:28PM
● By Bill Gilman
Citing lower than expected tax revenue figures, Baker used his authority to slash $98 million from the State's Fiscal Year 2017 Budget, including $1.9 million from the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS), money earmarked for mental health and substance abuse programs.
Of that total, $200,000 was committed to Into Action Recovery, the 12-step program established by Tewksbury resident Mary Ellen Cooper and her sister, Patty-Jo Hanley. The money was to be the cornerstone of a $450,000 fundraising campaign, with the goal of purchasing a property in Tewksbury to be used for the IAR Headquarters and a 16-bed "sober house" for recovering addicts.
The funding had been championed on Beacon Hill by State Rep. Jim Miceli, D-Wilmington, and was included among many spending items in the budget, vetoed by Baker but saved through legislative overrides.
Miceli did not return messages seeking comment on the budget cut.
State Rep. Jim Lyons, R-Andover, has been outspoken in his support of Baker's efforts to reel in spending in the State Budget and took to Facebook to voice his support for Baker's $98 million 9C cuts.
"Baker vetoed $265 million in spending when signed the fiscal 2017 budget in July. The Legislature restored $231 million of those reductions by overriding the governor's cuts in a spasm of votes taken in late July."
"The House is proud of its tradition of fiscal prudence "DeLeo said in a statement.
The democratic power brokers call a 50% increase in state spending since 2007 a "tradition of fiscal prudence"
The reason the governor has to cut now is because of the total lack of "fiscal prudence " in the legislature ..
Lyons declined to comment on the specific cut to the Into Action Recovery program.
David Hanley, slated to be the director of the Tewksbury Into Action Recovery program, was shocked to hear of the governor's cuts and concerned about their impact.
"I just kind of thought, really? This isn't the time they should be cutting," he said, in an interview with WCVB Ch.5 News. "The beds are very limited and every time you slash substance abuse spending, it just gets more limited."
It was just nine months ago that Gov. Baker, tears in his eyes, signed the state's Substance Abuse Act and promised that solving the opiate abuse epidemic was a top priority of his administration. Some Beacon Hill observers have speculated that Baker's recent 9C cuts are political retaliation for the Legislature's veto overrides over the summer.
Legislative leaders have said it is premature to make budget cuts this early in the fiscal year and have hinted they may restore the funding to the substance abuse programs if tax revenues improve in early 2017.
Sadly, the entire Into Action Recovery family was dealt any even more tragic blow later in the week when Derek Hanley, brother of David Hanley and son of Patty-Jo Hanley, passed away after a fiercely fought battle against addiction.
While IAR is hopeful their State House funding will be restored, money is still being raised through fundraising events and a Go Fund Me page for donations.