Friday, March 12, 2010

Jones: Disappointed but not surprised

BOSTON—House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. issued the following statement today after House and Senate budget writers announced cities and towns can expect local aid to be cut by up to, but no more than four percent.

This local aid announcement is indicative of the Democratic Leadership on Beacon Hill, disappointing but not surprising.

Over a week ago, the Republican Caucus announced its intention to offer a local aid resolution. When we distributed our resolution, we offered a clear and concise proposal that laid out our plan point by point. Any municipality reading our resolution would be able to understand exactly how it would be affected under our plan. That is why nearly 20 Democrats signed on.

Yesterday, House and Senate leaders said they would be making a local aid announcement of their own. Never did I think I would have to wait 24 hours to read two vague sentences that can be interpreted any number of ways. This announcement does not give cities and towns any better understanding of where they stand.

It is particularly disappointing that our cities and towns are bearing the brunt of the poor choices made by the Democratic Leadership. As a former local official, I understand how devastating these cuts are probably going to be. That is why it is imperative to provide information to cities and towns sooner rather than later.

It’s too bad only a handful of people are making these decisions behind closed doors instead of in an open and transparent manner. Nearly 25% of this year’s budget has been determined by four people without public debate and without a vote. This is wrong and quite frankly unacceptable.