I attended a forum tonight on the Northampton municipal budget, and its relation to state budgetary processes. The mayor of Northampton, Mary Clare Higgins, our State Representative Peter Kocot, State Senator Stanley Rosenberg, and City Councillor Pamela Schwartz (also the director of YES! Northampton, a group that advocates for the preservation and enhancement of local revenue to fund basic services such as education) all presented.
It was a really terrific overview of the challenges our community faces in balancing the budget without cutting local services such as education (which is the single largest expenditure in our town). It was also immensely refreshing to listen to dedicated politicians who weren’t afraid to talk about the facts and back it up with data. It’s a stark contrast to the anti-intellectualism so often proudly displayed at the federal level. In other words, I like knowing that the folks I elect to my government have an actual interest in, well, governing.
Here are the notes I took, which are as exhaustive as I could make them. I’m getting in touch with the offices of the Mayor and Rep. Kocot, who were both more than happy to provide me with a copy of the materials they brought with them, which are really instructive. As soon as I get those (hopefully tomorrow) I’ll post them here as well.