SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

December 6, 2012

Local aid cuts bring angst

N. Shore politicians react to governor's budget plan

(Continued)

Opponents of the cuts won’t be happy in any case.

As Marquis points out, Danvers was “counting on $150,000 in state aid for the homeless children” who live in budget motels on Route 1 and Endicott Street and are sent, at town expense, to their original schools. That aid is likely to be slashed in half, and the expense represents an unfunded mandate on Danvers, he points out.

State Rep. Ted Speliotis, D-Danvers, hasn’t decided how he would vote if this comes before him. “It’s a matter of how much money do we have?” But he adds that the town shouldn’t necessarily be exempt from the cuts made at other levels of government. Further, he advises that cuts, if needed, will do less damage if done sooner rather than later.

The cuts made already on the executive level, cuts in things like mental and public health, also have an impact on his constituents, Speliotis points out.

Midyear cuts in local aid are always troublesome, said state Rep. Brad Hill, R-Ipswich, because cities and town have already mapped out their own budgets and are counting on the state contribution. He is denouncing the governor for putting communities in this position through reckless spending

Hill cites, for example, a decision a few weeks ago to give free tuition at state colleges to illegal aliens. Why implement such a program while “knowing full well” that the state is in financial trouble? he asked.

“Then there’s the cost of the drug law fiasco and the crime lab fiasco,” Hill said. A referendum question requires the state to set up medical marijuana dispensaries, while a crime lab employee was found to have falsified hundreds of results on evidence used in criminal court. “Because of that, we are going to have some issues that are going to cost the commonwealth hundreds of millions of dollars.”

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