The following letter has been drafted by the Westford School Committee to Westford's state representative regarding the current fiscal crisis. The School Committee members welcome your comments on this letter. (06/8/2009)
Dear Representative Arciero (Example: Legislator title and name),
As you know city and town officials are on the front line of our state’s economy, and we see the direct impact of this fiscal crisis on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
During this recession, local aid to cities and town has been cut, local tax revenue is down, and year over year our operations costs have been climbing at record rates. Cities and towns have been in fiscal distress for many years; we have been curtailing services and increasing reliance on our property taxes. The current economic downturn promises to make this bad situation even worse.
A quote from a MMA letter dated 01/05/2009, “Cutting local aid means cutting money that funds our teachers, police officers, fire-fighters, public works employees, librarians and many more critical workers. Cities and towns will be forced to eliminate positions and lay off key workers, and vital public safety, municipal and school services will decline while local reliance on property taxes will continue to rise. Leading economists are calling on our federal and state governments to increase investment in local government to stimulate our local economy. “
Cities and towns need level funded chapter 70 school aid to continue. Any additional federal funding provided through the national stimulus plan is truly needed to help stimulate growth in our economy and to cover our cost of living increases. Therefore the members of the Westford School committee ask that you restore the 79 Million Dollars to Chapter 70 funding and provide the federal stimulus funds as designated to help cities and towns cover sharp budget increases.
We thank you for your consideration and swift action on these budget priorities.
Members Westford School Committee,