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Brianne Myers, Communications Director of Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC), emailed today to clarify some of the things we said yesterday in our article about legislators receiving awards from EqualJustice.org for protecting a state program which pays for attorneys to represent indigent clients in civil court proceedings.

Good afternoon,

I came across yesterday’s post, “O’Flaherty and Creem Get Another Award from the Lawyer’s Lobby,” and I just wanted to offer clarification on some of your points.

First, the Equal Justice Coalition is not a “lawyer’s lobby.” It’s a joint initiative by the Boston Bar Association, Massachusetts Bar Association and the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (line item 0321-1600) that advocates on behalf of the system of civil legal aid in the Commonwealth. Private attorneys do not benefit in any way from civil legal aid funding. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Massachusetts State House

Legislative leaders announced Friday that they intend to cut up to 4% from local aid next year.

There are two pools of local aid:

  • Chapter 70 – which is aid specifically for education, which cities and towns use to supplement their school budgets. This pool is roughly $4 billion dollars per year.
  • Unrestricted local aid – which towns generally use to supplement either education or public safety, like extra police. This pool is roughly $1 billion dollars per year.

You can get a sense of how much local aid your town gets from DOR.

The entire state budget last year was about $30 billion. So this local aid is only about 16% of the total state budget. The 4% cut in these two accounts represents a savings for the state of only 0.6% of the budget.

But the impact will be tremendous. Read the rest of this entry »

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