SOUTHBOROUGH, Mass. — State Rep. Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston) recently voted with her colleagues to approve a $115 million supplemental budget that blocks Gov. Deval Patrick's proposal to cut the $899 million unrestricted general government aid account by 1 percent, or $9 million.
In December, Patrick proposed the cuts as part of a plan to close an unexpected $540 million shortfall in the fiscal year 2013 budget. While the governor's 9C emergency powers allowed him to cut $225 million from agencies under his control, Patrick needed to propose legislation to expand that power in order to cut unrestricted aid.
"Particularly during these tough economic times, I am proud that I was able to stand up for our communities and preserve funding for essential programs supported by local aid," Dykema said. "This funding supports our local police and fire departments, our schools and so many other vital services that keep our communities growing. Maintaining this funding is a top priority as we move into the next fiscal year budget balancing process."
Geoffrey Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, had been lobbying the legislature to reject the governor's local aid cuts.
“We applaud the members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives for standing with their cities and towns and preserving $9 million in essential local aid,” Beckwith said. “Communities use these funds to pay for police and fire protection, schools, public works and much more, and this vote by the House is very good news for local citizens and taxpayers all across the state.”