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)
|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|