EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 7, 2014

Lyons opposes popular state spending bill

ANDOVER — Saying it’s time to put the brakes on “out-of-control state spending,” Rep. Jim Lyons took a stand against a $1.12 billion capital spending plan that won widespread support from the House of Representatives this week.

The Andover Republican was one of two legislators to vote against the bill on what he called “general principle.” He was joined by Rep. Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica) in his protest of the spending proposal, which passed the House 148-2.

The bill provides funding for a number of projects across the state, including $60 million for new State Police cruisers, $90 million for social, cultural and recreational projects; and $150 million for projects before the state Board of Library Commissioners, according to the State House News Service.

Lyons said he wasn’t objecting to any one item in the bill, but calling for an overall need for restraint.

The bill is one of several long-term spending authorization initiatives being marched through the branches of government in the months leading up to the November elections, giving incumbents a long list of projects to tout on the campaign trail.

“We’ve got to stop spending money,” Lyons said. “They put money into these various bond bills into different line items, and quite frankly, the amount of oversight relative to state spending is very limited.”

He declined to speculate why the bill didn’t enjoy more scrutiny.

“I know why I’m voting the way I’m voting, and I’m voting this way because I believe state spending is out of control,” he said. “We’ve cut money to our local communities, we’re closing fire stations and we continue to increase the number of dollars being spent. We have to reset our priorities and get more money back to our cities and towns.”

In addition to the large, state-wide spending items outlined in the bill, several smaller local projects were included as well. Among those items, $28.2 million is slated to go toward work on a nursing facility run by the Sisters of Providence Health System in the town of Montague. Another $24 million has been identified for the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams.

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