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?  

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