Continuing his advocacy on behalf of Local Aid, Representative Jim Lyons (R-Andover) reports that the Massachusetts Legislature has adopted the basis of his budget amendment to ensure that local school districts are better funded. Lyons sponsored Amendment 580 increasing Chapter 70 funding to meet the 17.5 percent target of the Foundation Budget to the Massachusetts state budget during House floor debate on Monday, April 23. On , June 28, the House and Senate included many ideas put forward in that proposal within the final budget document.
"Our most vital services," Lyons said, "are provided through our local communities: education, police, fire, libraries, public works, and public safety. This important first step shows the Legislature is starting to recognize the necessity of increasing Local Aid to cities and towns.
"By more fairly funding the Foundation Budget, we will see increases in state education aid in the 18th Essex District and throughout the Commonwealth. Make no mistake, this marks the beginning of the fight to fund Local Aid budgets at a predictable, consistent, and sustainable level."
Within the current 18th Essex District which Lyons represents, the Town of Andover will receive an additional $608,804 and the Town of North Andover is scheduled to receive an increase of more than $105,504. These are examples of the taxpayer dollars that will now be available for local communities to fund primary and secondary education.
"This is a first step," Lyons reiterated, "but it is only the first of many steps forward needed to reform state government, to provide tax relief, and to increase Local Aid. I intend to continue fighting for taxpayers, working families, small businesses, and local communities.
"I will continue to vote against overblown budgets that maintain the misplaced priorities and out-of-control spending of the Patrick Administration," emphasized the Andover Republican, who applauded the Chapter 70 funding line item, while opposing the massive state spending blueprint.
"We are all witnessing rampant waste in the state EBT card program," Lyons added, "along with the abuse of Mass Health and Health Safety Net. And we see the political patronage and corruption in the probation system. Unfortunately, the Patrick Administration insiders and Beacon Hill power brokers fought against proposals to reform the state bureaucracy and prevent the EBT and Health Safety Net excesses.
"We should all be pleased," Lyons concluded, "that the Legislature is recognizing the need for greater Local Aid. We all rely on the services provided through our local communities. At the same time, we must cap property taxes and protect Proposition 2 1/2. The most effective way to achieve those twin goals is by ending this Administration's wasteful spending of our hard-earned taxpayer dollars. It's time to direct those precious resources to maintain strong local communities, while holding down property tax rates."