by Ted Tripp
Sr. Political Reporter
In the weeks and months leading up to the Massachusetts FY 2018 House budget this spring, representatives from across the state proposed 1,227 amendments. Most of these had to do with getting money for some project within their district so they could curry favor with voters – which usually turns out to be very helpful on Election Day.
A small number of the amendments were rejected or withdrawn or individually accepted. The vast majority, particularly those involving more money for some pet project or budget item, were all bundled into a handful of consolidated amendments which were passed with no debate during the two days the budget was on the floor of the House for discussion.
The $40+ billion final House budget with all this extra spending passed 159 to 1. Only Representative Jim Lyons of Andover voted against this bloated bill.
So, how do all these earmarks and additional spending pass muster, even with some of the conservative Republicans? It’s easy. You vote for my gazebo and I’ll vote for your gazebo. It’s a time-honored tradition in Massachusetts and I don’t know how you break the cycle. The problem is that it gets worse every year and the political leaders are always crying that there is never enough money, so taxes have to be raised.
As a public service, the Boston Broadside will begin a series here showing you where your tax dollars are going to local projects when those towns and cities should be funding those items themselves. Why should somebody in Watertown be paying for a gazebo in Amesbury? It makes no sense.
We will also show where representatives feel the amount for some item in the budget is not funded sufficiently and they want to add thousands – often millions – of dollars more than originally set aside.
Nearby is the beginning of how this amendment money affects the budget. These first 41 items are just the tip of the iceberg, but you can see they involve significant funds. Also remember as you view these that they do not necessarily reflect the final amounts as the Senate has to weigh in and the governor has to sign the eventual conference committee document. But you can bet your last tax dollar that most of these amendment outlays will survive the process.
Note that many of the amendments are written with the preface, “Not less than …” and dollars seem to be treated as coming from a bottomless pit.
Pork Sample #1: Taking Money From Workers and Taxpayers, Giving it to Pet Projects (more next issue)
|Michael Day||Stoneham||Restore the Aberjona Riverbank in Winchester||Not less than $50,000|
|Michael Day||Stoneham||Wayfinding signage in Stoneham||Not less than $90,000|
|Michael Day||Stoneham||Adding funds for Zoo New England||$2,400,000|
|Cory Atkins||Concord||Adding funds for 11 MA visitor information centers||Not less than $450,000|
|Carmine Gentile||Sudbury||To Sudbury to purchase CSX land for rail trail||Not less than $700,000|
|Patricia Haddad||Somerset||Swansea’s 350th Anniversary Celebration||Not less than $100,000|
|Patricia Haddad||Somerset||Swansea Beach Revitalization||Not less than $100,000|
|Todd Smola||Warren||Old Sturbridge Village||$50,000|
|Carmine Gentile||Sudbury||MetroWest Free Medical Program Inc.||Not less than $100,000|
|Ann-Margaret Ferrante||Gloucester||Public art displays for LuminArtz||Not less than $25,000|
|Josh Cutler||Duxbury||To Pembroke for cultural and recreational programming||Not less than $25,000|
|Josh Cutler||Duxbury||To Duxbury for Senior Center improvements||Not less than $50,000|
|Jay Livingstone||Boston||Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Inc.||Not less than $75,000|
|Jay Livingstone||Boston||Improve Magazine Beach in Cambridge||Not less than $150,000|
|Josh Cutler||Duxbury||To Hanson for management of Wampatuck Pond||Not less than $20,000|
|Mathew Muratore||Plymouth||Explore Natural Plymouth||Not less than $207,000|
|James Cantwell||Marshfield||Additional funds to promote enviromental health||$200,232|
|Cory Atkins||Concord||Marketing/promotion of regional tourist councils||$4,200,000|
|Gerard Cassidy||Brockton||To Brockton to repair the Crosby Admin. Building||Not less than $225,000|
|Mathew Muratore||Plymouth||Plymouth 400, Inc. for Pilgrim landing anniverary||$500,000|
|Josh Cutler||Duxbury||To Pembroke for pond management||Not less than $25,000|
|Josh Cutler||Duxbury||To Hanson for economic development||Not less than $35,000|
|Tricia Farley-Bouvier||Pittsfield||Peer support programming at Crane Center in Pittsfield||Not less than $75,000|
|Angelo Puppolo||Springfield||Wilbraham Nature and Cultural Council||Not less than $50,000|
|Angelo Puppolo||Springfield||New England Public Radio in Springfield||Not less than $150,000|
|Angelo Puppolo||Springfield||City Stage of Springfield||Not less than $100,000|
|Angelo Puppolo||Springfield||The Spirit of Springfield, Inc.||Not less than $100,000|
|Angelo Puppolo||Springfield||Dispute Resolution Services, Inc. of Springfield||$75,000|
|Aaron Vega||Holyoke||Recreational improvements at McKenzie Field in Holyoke||$50,000|
|William Driscoll||Milton||To Milton for playground repairs at Andrew’s Park||Not less than $20,000|
|William Driscoll||Milton||Randolph Economic Opportunity Center||Not less than $30,000|
|Marjorie Decker||Cambridge||Adding funds to Valuing Children Equally||$11,500,000|
|Hannah Kane||Shrewsbury||Celebration of the 300th anniversary of Westborough||Not less than $50,000|
|Paul Mark||Peru||Faculty Access and Investment Fund; for more faculty||$25,000,000|
|John Scibak||South Hadley||Learning achievement for youth program in Amherst||Not less than $50,000|
|John Scibak||South Hadley||Culinary arts program for South Hadley High School||Not less than $250,000|
|Thomas Walsh||Peabody||100th Anniversary of the City of Peabody||Not less than $25,000|
|Marjorie Decker||Cambridge||Add money to Assistance for Families in Transition||$3,500,000|
|Lori Ehrlich||Marblehead||Maintenance of Red Rock Park in Lynn||Not less than $55,000|
|Lori Ehrlich||Marblehead||Cleanup of algae on beaches in Lynn||Not less than $50,000|
|Lori Ehrlich||Marblehead||Self Esteem Boston; service and training programs||Not less than $150,000|
|Total||Not less than $51,057,232|