Monday, July 19, 2010

A vote for the state’s budget was a vote against your town

The $27.6 billion fiscal year 2011 state budget is 1.3% less than the year before. That seemed like good news to me... Until I looked a little closer at the numbers.

Before I forget, the commonwealth will actually spend more than $50 billion next year, including all those outside of GAA (general appropriations authorization) expenditures, like MassPort, MBTA, etc.

But for my purposes here, we’ll stick to the GAA.

If the total budget was slashed (well, that’s probably too strong a term), make that trimmed by 1.3%, you’d understand if state aid to our towns would also be trimmed by the same percentage. Wouldn’t you? I mean, everybody has to have skin in the game, right?

So what happened to local aid in the latest budget?

Sit down.

Take a deep breath.

Okay. Ready?

For the four towns in the 5th Barnstable state representative district—Barnstable, Bourne, Mashpee and Sandwich—state aid is scheduled to drop 9.7%.

That’s more than just skin in the game. That’s skin, muscle and bones.

What state representative would vote for a budget that punishes the towns he represents 7.5 times more than the overall rate of reduction? (9.7% divided by 1.3%)

Should such a “representative” be rewarded for the absolute disregard of his district with a win at the polls on November 2nd?

You decide.

A “Yea” vote is a vote to slash local aid to Barnstable, Bourne, Mashpee and Sandwich. Here they are:

Demetrius Atsalis – Yea
Susan Gifford – Nay
Matt Patrick – Yea
Jeff Perry – Nay
Cleon Turner – Yea

Just another example of the legislature turning towns and cities into their whipping post. Stop using local aid to sop up the red ink created by unbridled overspending.

Click here for the entire House of Representatives’ roll call.

The numbers are there for everyone to see. Click here to see for yourself.

I downloaded the FY2011 and FY2010 Cherry Sheets. Those are the Department of Revenue’s lists of local aid items (payments by the state to cities and towns) and assessments (payments by the cities and towns to the state, county or other towns).

When local aid goes down and assessments go up, it’s a double whammy. And that’s what’s happening to the 5th Barnstable towns this coming year.

The net Cherry Sheet amounts (local aid less assessments) follow:

FY2010: $5,058,276
FY2011: $4,460,770
Reduction: $597,506 | 12%

FY2010: $5,270,583
FY2011: $4,689,706
Reduction: $580,877 | 11%

FY2010: $4,795,686
FY2011: $4,169,623
Reduction: $626,063 | 13%

FY2010: $7,291,638
FY2011: $6,931,633
Reduction: $360,005 | 5%

Total for the four towns
FY2010: $22,416,183
FY2011: $20,251,732
Reduction: $2,164,451 | 9.7%


  1. Randy, can you tell me if I understand this correctly? With regard to the reduction of local aid to Sandwich by 5%, how does that translate into a municipal override next year. "If" we passed an override to cover just this reduction, wouldn't we still be in same position we are right now? Am I understanding this correctly?

  2. At this point in time, estimates that the board of selectmen are using for the FY2012 budget cannot be more accurate than by a half million dollars, or so, anyway (except by accident).

    I assume that these Cherry Sheet numbers are incorporated into the town manager's projections. If not, they will be shortly.

    The more than $2 million projected deficit wouldn't necessarily change, however, since the $360,005 reduction for Sandwich represents only about 1/2 percent of total expenditures. That is, it is within a reasonable margin of error being so far out from the beginning of FY2012.

  3. Its not a double whammy Randy, its at least a triple. Don't forget increased taxes and fees. The Democrats who run this state are corrupt to the core. This trick with the local tax option. This is so they can say "the towns increased the tax, not us".

    I am tired of all this. I will not vote for anyone who does not PROMISE to vote against all increases in taxes.

    Linnel Grundman told me that Jeff Perry was a nice guy, but he fails to bring the money to Sandwich. Well, the 5% decrease is quite a bit less than the others. Democrats in the state are liars. They suck the life out of the working, law abiding person. When you are factoring in taxes and fees, my pay check is getting closer and closer to the family of four who are at the poverty level. If this is the promise of America, then we are in trouble. I am hoping my employer lays me off, then I can collect unemployment for two or three years and work under the table. I might as well catch some of the free stuff the middle class pays for.

  4. When I read the comment of the last poster, I could not help but admire how on target she was in her posting, at least until I got the part about wanting to get laid off. I did not realized, as I was reading that the poster was myself. I take back the part of the receiving unemployment and working under the table. I just lost it a bit, and, I wanted to bring home a point.

  5. Anonymous you paint a perfect picture of how the average person, a home owner, can barely meet the daily expenses with their paycheck. I just re-read the Sandwich Enterprise articles because I thought I had missed something in the way these two taxes (the debt exclusion and the 2.2 million override) are being laid before us. It isn't just the towns buildings that have issues. Ask any homeowner who looks at his 25+ year roofing shingles that has to delay, yet again, replacing that roof because they cannot find the money needed! Our homes, like the towns buildings, need repair but who do we pass the tax increase onto, our children who return to the home after college because they cannot afford to make it on their own yet? I am frustrated when a fledgling selectman suggests we have to 'get out of the hole we are in by climbing a ladder'. That individual has lost touch with the average person. That ladder, at this time, just can't be climbed on the backs of those who are already at the breaking point. Ahhhh, my fat couch just got bigger.....Just say no Anon...the pressure to place the guilt on the voter is going to increase..just watch the rhetoric that will start slipping into the editorials and My View it begins.

  6. Greg, I agree with both you and anonymous. Its time for the leaders to understand that we do not want to pay more in taxes. It looks as all the Selectmen will do this year is pound us about why we need an override, much as my back from college kid can give me a powerpoint showing how my buying him a new car will help him in the long run to be more productive. I would believe his powerpoint, but unfortunately I don't have the money. I know the town needs the money, but guess what, I don't have it.

    West of East Sandwich


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