I Want My Money BACK!

Forgive me please for being greedy, but I want my money back!

I voted in 2000 to have the state income tax rate brought down to 5%. My state representative and my state senator voted no.

When the state proposed the lottery system, our “Fathers” (Legislators) in this paternalistic system known as the “nanny state” told us that cities and towns would receive the net revenue from the lottery system as “municipal aid”.

In 2004, the lottery was doing well, so our Fathers told us that we could not have all of the lottery money in municipal “aid”. Thus began the lottery “cap.” This cap remained for several years. All of the revenue received by the state over a certain amount was diverted from the cities and towns to the “rainy day fund” otherwise known as the state’s stabilization fund.

To date, there is roughly $2.2 Billion dollars in the rainy day fund. $450 million of that came from the lottery system. That’s OUR money.

During this time, cities and towns struggled to make ends meet amid a crisis of double digit annual increases in fuel and health care costs. Double digit increases do not fit well within a Proposition 2 1/2 structure, so there were a lot of override requests made by these cities and towns to their voters. Many of these requests were voted down, so municipal stabilization funds were depleted and services cut.

In the meantime, our Beacon Hill Fathers were spending money with reckless abandon. All of the warnings given by our Republican governor were ignored and all of the line item vetoes issued by said Governor were gleefully overridden. The Stabilization Fund, a/k/a Rainy Day fund, grew and grew.

Well, today it appears to be raining. Now, we see long faces on Beacon Hill, and our Fathers inform us that tough times are ahead. Our new Governor Father in fact, is the only Father urging new spending.

Now we are told that our “municipal aid” may not increase. And, we are told by virtue of two votes in the House, that we cannot have the $450 million in lottery funds that were due us from those years of the cap.

WHY NOT? I want my money back!

I am outraged that our Fathers in the legislature voted along party lines not once but twice on October 11, 2007 NOT to return this money to the cities and towns that most desparately need them.

I am outraged that while I stood before my town and informed them that we would not be able to balance our town’s budget without service cuts or tax increases that all along our Fathers were withholding our money from us.

I am outraged that no one in the media is even covering this story. I saw one article in the Worcester Telegram about this issue. That is it. From that article, I learned that my town’s share of this money would be $419,000. That is half of our total lottery “aid” for fiscal year 2008.

What would $419,000 mean for my town? We could add one more police officer to our 6 officer police force with that money, so that we could have more than one officer on duty at our most vulnerable times. We could add a much needed EMT to our ambulance corps so that we could offer 24 hour ambulance service in town.

What else? The list is endless. We could pay to fix the bridge that is on a “state highway” that the state refuses to fix. We could pay our non union town employees a reasonable wage. We could do all of that, and then USE THE REST TO REDUCE THE PROPERTY TAX BURDEN on our citizens.

Is anyone listening out there? Anyone at all??? My state representative is not listening. To him, Proposition 2 1/2 overrides are “local matters” that don’t involve him. My Father, it would seem, has more important things to do than to make sure that we have money to fix our roads.

My local newspaperman is not listening. He is off to write yet another tabloid story about how the Advisory Board is not getting along with the town accountant.

Are my fellow citizens listening? If so, why isn’t EVERYONE outraged by this?

If no one cares, then I won’t either. I am not going to stand up in front of my town again and tell them that they have to cut their town services or increase their already overburdening tax bill while this $450 million dollars sits in the state’s Stabilization Fund.

I will no longer be the pawn of a system that merely wants to increase the “pie” of revenue at the state level so that our Fathers can increase spending.

If no one is listening, and no one cares, then I won’t either. But I won’t go out quietly.

Isn’t anyone else out there noticing this?  

About Ashburnham

  • Vote3rdpartynow

    You see, once you get elected in Massachusetts you don’t actually have to make good on any promises.  Those promises ended when Cadillac Devalle finished taking the oath.

    Once you are in office you start planning your reelection and need to come up with a bunch more new promises to tell people about.

    I am glad you brought this up though.  I have been wanting to start a post discussing how many of Cadillac devalle’s promises have been made good on – since we are coming up on the first anniversary of our esteemed Governor.  I will start a new post for that though.

  • Ashburnham

    Rep. Brad Jones issued an email to municipal officials today asking for assistance on his proposal to return this $450 million to the cities and towns. Currently this proposal is mired in the Rules Committee, and Rep. Jones and his supporters need OUR HELP to get this bill out of committee.

    Please HELP! This is something YOU can do to help bring accountability back to Beacon Hill. Call your Selectmen, Mayor or other local elected officials and tell them about this proposal.

    This is not some pie in the sky proposal like what Spend-It-All Deval comes up with on a daily basis. This is a real sum of money that was promised to the cities and towns and was not delivered.

    How does this affect you, you might ask, the average citizen? Well, Deval Patrick promised to reduce local property taxes. He did nothing but propose the Municipal Partnership act that did nothing for us on the local level, especially for those of us in small towns that could not raise meals taxes even if we wanted to (which we don’t!).

    This is something REAL that we can do to alleviate the very REAL “Municipal Meltdown” Crisis that is going on in Massachusetts right now.

    If ever there was an issue that the Republican Party can rally around and give assistance to every voter on, it is this.

    Lower taxes and government accountability is the cornerstone of the Republican Party.

    WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO HELP?  

  • BrocktonDave

    What did the rainy day fund look like when Mike Dukakis was forced to refund some of it?

  • Knightbrigade

    What is the REAL reason the hacks are sitting on this money? What are their intentions?

  • BrocktonDave

    I didn’t put the whole post, but what the general information is.  I will be contacting my reps in the next few days on this.  If you have any other details (like title of the proposal or anything), let me know.  My email is on my web site.

    Brockton is in very dire straights.  It’s raining here too, and the budget is pretty thin for essentials.  I know we need to trim more from it, and we can, but we have an artificial crisis here.

    If someone knows of the efforts to refund the rainy day fund back in the 80’s it would be a great find.  I know that Mikey was socking billions away into this little jewel until the SJC made him stop.  Maybe we can do this again too.

    I also remember talk about the economy doing well, and the Republicans wanted the tax rate turned back down to 5%, and the legislature mandated the Rainy Day fund level up higher to compensate.

    Also, if more of those City Councilors/Selectmen were Republicans, we would have a more sympathetic local ear!  Work on the grassroots, and the state house will follow!

  • BrocktonDave

    I’m ready to put the full court press on for this.  Brockton alone could recieve a one time payment of $10.5 million dollars, and they are preparing to make 40% budget cuts to all city departments.

    I think this is worthy of our attention.  If we can do this, we could head off some serious pain in some urban areas.  Whitman would get $1.2 Million, East Bridgewater would get amost $900,000, Hanson would get about $700,000, Easton $1.3 million, Hanover over $600,000.

    I know that Brockton could face a $10 million dollar shortfall.

    Folks, it’s not a tax increase it’s money we already paid.  The rainy day fund is twice what it was in 2003!  We need to do this.

    We need to get letters written to Sal DiMasi, and Angelo Scaccia to get this Docket out to the joint committee!

    Thank you Rep. Jones, and Rob Willington for getting me this information.

  • Ashburnham

    I obtained a vote from my Board Of Selectmen on Monday night to support House Docket 4651. The letter is going out today to Sal DiMasi and the Chairman of the Rules Committee.

    I am not sure what else I am going to be able to do about this, though, because I am being faced with an incredible amount of APATHY when I talk to citizens and other elected officials about it.

    This shocks me, but I believe that it is an example of how most of the citizens of this Commonwealth have given up hope in having a voice in our legislature.

    Other Selectmen that I talk to about this just shrug their shoulders and say “it will never happen” when I mention this proposal to them.

    Citizens I talk to about this turn their backs to me and say “I am tired of politics” when I bring it up to them.

    I have blogged about this issue several times on my blog, and no one has responded in any way that they wished to help in this effort.

    If this is not an issue that the Republican Party can rally behind, I don’t know what is. Sure, we can get all hot and bothered about immigration and about English as our primary language, but the REAL important issue that has always bound Republicans together is TAXES. This is such an obvious issue of the Democrats hoarding our money and refusing to be accountable to us that I am really shocked that no one is screaming from the roof tops about it.

    I am arriving at the sad realization that NO ONE CARES. We, the sheep citizens of Massachusetts don’t think that we could ever have a voice or a choice, and therefore we roll over and take what the Democrats are giving us, regardless of how wrong it really is.

    Am I wrong? Prove it to me by showing me that this issue is gaining any traction at all with people across the state and that this legislation has any chance at all of passage.

    Prove me wrong. I hope I am wrong. I would love to see evidence of it. As for me, I am at the point where I don’t see any benefit to banging my head against the wall when no one cares.