Massachusetts State Representative Daniel E. Bosley (D-North Adams) today announced that the upcoming House Ways & Means budget will lift the cap on Lottery aid and send the highest levels of local aid to cities and towns in the Commonwealth's history.
The proposed total spending represents $920 million, an increase of $158 million over the current fiscal year expenditure and $260 million over Fiscal Year 2005.
"Local aid is one of the most worthwhile investments the House makes each year," said Bosley. "These additional dollars will make it easier for cities and towns to provide the essential local services our citizens depend on and ease property tax burdens across Massachusetts."
In Bosley's First Berkshire District, cities and towns will receive the following amounts: Adams, $2,434,463; North Adams, $5,250,381; Rowe, $4,791; Monroe, $8,805; Williamstown, $1,169,507; Heath, $95,301; Hawley, $39,884; Savoy, $128,020; Clarksburg, $432,260; Florida, $60,898.
"This is the best news that we've received in better than three years," said North Adams Mayor John Barrett III. "It will allow cities and towns to put an end to the escalating property tax increases of the past and will provide communities with fiscal relief to allow programs to be restored."
The Legislature was forced to divert Lottery aid — monies traditionally directed to municipalities — to the state's general fund at the height of the most recent recession in 2003. As a result, cities and towns made cuts to local education, public safety and transportation accounts and increased their reliance on property taxes to balance municipal budgets. The Lottery aid figures in the House Ways & Means budget will exceed pre-recessionary levels.
"Local officials in every city and town hall across the state applaud the House for ending the Lottery cap, a major step to restoring fiscal and economic health for all of our communities," said Geoffrey C. Beckwith, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association. "They clearly understand the difficult fiscal challenges facing cities and towns. This is a great day for all of us."