State budget includes $25,000 earmark for 'The Moving Wall'

State Rep. Gifford secured funds, joined lawmakers in approving $40 billion budget
Apr 28, 2017
Courtesy of: Visitors at an installation of The Moving Wall at Camden, Tennessee. The Vietnam Memorial replica is slated to appear in Wareham this August.

Local efforts to bring “The Moving Wall,” a scaled-down replica of Washington D.C.’s Vietnam War Memorial, may receive a $25,000 boost from Beacon Hill.

The earmark comes courtesy of State Representative Susan Williams Gifford (R-Wareham), who joined with her colleagues in the state House of Representatives this week to approve a $40.4 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2018.

Next, the budget process moves to the Massachusetts' Senate, which is expected to release its own spending proposal in mid-May.

For the third year in a row, the House budget reduces the use of non-recurring revenue sources to achieve balance, relying on just $110 million in one-time revenues. It also calls for the deposit of $100 million into the state’s Stabilization Fund, which will bring the account balance to $1.4 billion.

Cities and towns will see a $164 million increase in local aid under the House budget, which represents a 2.7 percent increase over current funding levels. Under the House budget, Wareham will receive $13,232,181 in Chapter 70 education aid and $1,976,561 in unrestricted state aid in Fiscal Year 2018.

During the House floor debate, Gifford secured $25,000 in funds for the Friends of the Wareham Veterans Council. Filed under the Massachusetts Marketing Partnership, the earmark will assist the Friends of the Wareham Veterans Council with the cost of hosting the Vietnam Veterans “Moving Wall” Memorial this summer. Currently, the Friends are working to raise $49,000 to cover the cost of bringing the wall to town.

“I know how difficult it has been for the Friends to raise the funds that will be needed to host the ‘Moving Wall’ and I’m very pleased my earmark amendment was adopted,” said Gifford.

She noted that the House budget includes a Republican-sponsored proposal to create a special task force to review all unfunded state education mandates and reporting requirements imposed on local school districts. The task force will be asked to provide recommendations for easing the cost burden on cities and towns by streamlining, consolidating or eliminating these mandates.

The House budget funds Chapter 70 education aid at $4.7 billion while providing for a guaranteed statewide minimum increase of $30 per pupil. The proposed Chapter 70 appropriation represents a $106 million increase over current spending levels and is $15 million higher than the governor’s proposal filed in January.

Unrestricted general government aid, which is made available to communities for a wide range of municipal spending purposes, is increased by $40 million in the House budget to a total of $1.061 billion.



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