Lyons Pushes For Local Aid Increase [VIDEO]
The state representative displayed his vision for budgeting for cities and towns.
North Andover's legislators -- State Sen. Bruce Tarr, State Sen. Kathleen O'Connor Ives, State Rep. Jim Lyons and State Rep. Diana DiZoglio -- visited the Board of Selectmen meeting Monday to discuss their priorities in the new legislative session.
One major theme of the discussion was Chapter 70 local aid.
Lyons took the opportunity to push for increasing local aid with target share Chapter 70 funding.
Fully funding a target share system would mean is that, instead of relying on lawmakers lobbying for funding increases, each community would receive up to 17.5 percent of its schools budget. Such a targeted aid system would allow towns to know how much to expect in state money, to better plan municipal budgeting, Lyons said.
North Andover received $6,124,740 in Chapter 70 funds last year. Under fully funded targeted aid, the town would have received $691,935 more.
Gov. Deval Patrick has expressed support for fully funding Chapter 70 with target share, but Lyons blasted the governor's approach to doing so, said the governor is trying to do it by raising taxes but Republicans want to do it by shifting money away from Department of Public Health programs and other programs in the state budget.
"So I think there's a fundamental difference in how we want to do things on Beacon Hill,"Lyons said.
Lyons added that he would like to give communities a baseline of local aid on which to build.
"As we move forward, if revenues increase, there's a certain percentage of the increase in revenues that automatically goes to local aid," he said.