Approved House Budget Amendments: It’s Just Money … No Debate Necessary – Part 2

Approved House Budget Amendments: It’s Just Money … No Debate Necessary – Part 2

by Ted Tripp

Sr. Political Reporter

Last month the Boston Broadside started listing some of the 1227 amendments proposed for the Massachusetts House budget this spring. As we stated, most of these had to do with either getting money for some project within a state representative’s district or adding money to a politically favored line item in the budget as approved by the House Ways and Means Committee. Both these actions curry favor with voters which turn out to be very helpful on Election Day.

In the end, almost all of these amendments got approved with no explanation or debate on the House floor – yet they add hundreds of millions of dollars to the budget. Why does this happen year after year? As we pointed out last month, the culture is corrupt: “You vote for my gazebo and I’ll vote for yours.” There is no fiscal discipline, and taxpayer money is treated as coming from an inexhaustible source.

In June we listed over 40 amendments which increased spending by more than $51 million, much of it for local projects where the towns or cities should have been picking up the tab. And we only scratched the surface.

This month we list another 40 plus amendments which passed and added another $23 million to the first amount for over $74 million to date. And we have a lot more to go in future issues.

In this batch of amendments, note that we actually have a gazebo request. Representative Colleen Garry of Dracut put in an amendment for a “Gazebo in Dracut” for an amount of “not less than $25,000.” Approved with no debate.

If the state will fund a gazebo in Dracut, why shouldn’t it fund a new gazebo in every town and city?

Democrat State Reps. Marjorie Decker, Paul Mark, Colleen Garry, Angelo Puppolo, Danielle Gregoire, and Michael Day – just some of the ‘oinkers’

Also listed is the addition of $9,384,482 by Representative Daniel Donahue of Worcester to the Department of Corrections main account. We don’t know if this was necessary or not because, again, there was no discussion or debate on the House floor when this was passed. Perhaps half this amount would have been enough? Maybe even more was needed. We will never know.

However, what we do know is that the House Ways and Means budget had already allocated $615,539,903 to run the Department of Corrections and the committee felt that was sufficient.

You will also note various amendments for technology upgrades to schools, police departments and towns. We are sure these are all worthy items … but should the state be paying for them? Again, if the state is paying for a technology upgrade in the Dracut schools, why shouldn’t it pay for similar upgrades in everybody’s school? Imagine what that would do to the budget!

Finally, you will note that we seem to have a serial amendment abuser on the current list, Representative Colleen Garry of Dracut. There is apparently no local project she thinks the state should not cough up the money for and she delivers. I’m sure her constituents are proud of her efforts … while the rest of us wonder why the state is talking about raising taxes.

Oink! Oink! More pork next month with Part 3 of this series  ¨

 

Pork Sample #2: Taking Money From Workers and Taxpayers, Giving it to Pet Projects (more next issue)

 

Representative Town/City Amendment, Amount
David Linsky Natick To Natick for school overcrowding Not less than $200,000
David Linsky Natick To Sherborn for preservation of historic documents Not less than $50,000
Thomas Walsh Peabody To Peabody for a water treatment study Not less than $100,000
Marjorie Decker Cambridge Add money to promote Earned Income Tax Credit Not less than $100,000
Brian Ashe Longmeadow Urban League of Springfield, Inc. Not less than $400,000
Colleen Garry Dracut Add money to MA Commission on Status of Women $27,891
Patricia Haddad Somerset Add money to Office of Attorney General $2,400,000
Paul Mark Peru Teaching garden at Greenfield Community College Not less than $75,000
Paul Mark Peru Add money to MA Office of Employee Involvement & Own. Not less than $250,000
Paul Mark Peru Add money to Franklin Regional Transit Authority Not less than $180,000
Paul Mark Peru To support Children’s Advocacy Centers Not less than $750,000
John Scibak S. Hadley To the Forsythe Institute’s Center for Children’s Oral Health $300,000
Danielle Gregoire Marlborough Add money for smoking prevention $4,150,000
Danielle Gregoire Marlborough To Marlborough to improve a park and a playground Not less than $150,000
Dylan Fernandes Falmouth Homelessness caseworker on Martha’s Vineyard Not less than $45,000
Thomas Stanley Waltham Waltham Tourism Council Not less than $75,000
Sean Garballey Arlington To Arlington for The Children’s Room Not less than $50,000
Rady Mom Lowell Add money to YouthBuild $400,000
Paul Schmid Westport Westport town landing improvements $50,000
Sean Garballey Arlington West Medford Community Center Not less than $100,000
Aaron Vega Holyoke Greater Holyoke Chamber Foundation SPARK $50,000
Elizabeth Poirier N. Attleborough Attleboro Area Social Responsibility Consortium; for rides Not less than $20,000
Lori Ehrlich Marblehead Add money to MA Office of International Trade & Invest. $116,000
William Driscoll Milton Blue Hills Trailside Museum Not less than $500,000
Aaron Vega Holyoke Holyoke Medical Center Emergency Dept. for construction Up to $1,000,000
Aaron Vega Holyoke Leadership Pioneer Valley Inc. for leadership development Not less than $50,000
Carole Fiola Fall River Add money to Family Planning $1,400,000
Kevin Honan Boston Add money for the Social Law Library $111,688
Timothy Whelan Brewster Repairs to the Cape Cod Museum of Art Not less than $70,000
Timothy Whelan Brewster Repairs to The Cape Playhouse in Dennis Not less than $70,001
Leonard Mirra W. Newbury Pond weed removal and water quality in Groveland Not less than $58,100
Timothy Whelan Brewster Improve Cape Cod Rail Trail in Yarmouth $60,000
Daniel Donahue Worcester Add money to Dept. of Corrections main account $9,384,482
Colleen Garry Dracut Gazebo in Dracut Not less than $25,000
Colleen Garry Dracut Economic development in Dracut Not less than $100,000
Colleen Garry Dracut Economic development in Tyngsborough Not less than $100,000
Colleen Garry Dracut For Beaver Brook Farm in Dracut Not less than $100,000
Colleen Garry Dracut Rehab of historic properties in Tyngsborough Not less than $100,000
Colleen Garry Dracut Technology upgrades in Dracut schools Not less than $160,000
Colleen Garry Dracut To Tyngsborough schools for student transportation Not less than $100,000
Colleen Garry Dracut Technology upgrades in town of Dracut Not less than $45,000
Colleen Garry Dracut To Dracut for public safety improvements Not less than $100,000
Bruce Ayers Quincy Quincy Department of Elder Affairs $25,000
Peter Durant Spencer To Southbridge for community outreach to Hispanic seniors Not less than $40,000
Josh Cutler Duxbury Technology upgrades in Hanson schools Not less than $50,000
    Total Not less than $23,013,161

 

http://www.bostonbroadside.com/showcase/approved-house-budget-amendments-its-just-money-no-debate-necessary-part-1/

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