Community Leaders Urge 'No' Vote on Question 3
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Mayor Richard Alcombright, state Rep. Dan Bosley, state Sen. Benjamin Downing, D-Pittsfield, Adams Town Administrator Jonathan Butler, Clarksburg Town Administrator Michael Canales, Florida Town Administrator Christine Dobbert and Williamstown Town Manager Peter Fohlin, have come out against what they say would be the "devastating fiscal impact to all North Berkshire communities" if ballot Question 3 is passed.
Question 3, to be voted on in next week's election, proposes a reduction of the state’s sales tax from 6.25 percent to 3 percent.
According to a statement released by Alcombright's office on Oct. 28, at the Oct. 20 Massachusetts Mayors meeting attended by Alcombright, Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation speaker Andy Bagley described Question 3 as “heading over the cliff."
The state already faces a $2 billion dollar shortfall in the upcoming fiscal 2012 budget, which would jump to $4.5 billion if the voters approve Question 3. According to MTF, the resulting massive spending cuts would eliminate or erode a wide range of services from education and public safety to health care and human services.
“Our communities would be devastated by the loss of revenue in FY2012 and passage of Question 3 would additionally assure deep and chaotic cuts right after the first of the year. It is projected that the City of North Adams would be cut by as much as $2.1 million dollars in FY2012 if Question 3 passes and we would certainly see significant revenue reductions in this current fiscal year. Overall, the FY2012 impact on municipal and school budgets in North Berkshire from Question 3 alone would be over $4.6 million dollars in addition to the already projected cuts of up to 15 percent on both municipal and school aid. All in all, with the passage of Question 3 and anticipated FY2012 cuts, North Berkshire could lose close to $8.8 million dollars in state aid,” Alcombright said in the statement.
Fohlin added, “Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation projects Williamstown and Mount Greylock Regional School District will lose over $400,000 if Question 3 passes. The effect on education, public safety, and public works would be devastating. I can’t imagine asking Williamstown property owners to fill such a huge gap.”
The state has cut municipal and school funding by more than 18 percent over the past three years and the passage of Question 3 would assure reductions in funding of over 20 percent next year. These massive reductions in revenue would mandate deep and painful cuts to all segments of municipal and school budgets for all communities in North Berkshire County, the statement concluded.
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