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Megan Rubiner Zinn: Override’s benefits outweigh short-term costs

To the editor:

Thanks to significant cuts in state aid and uneven funding formulas, Northampton is facing painful budget cuts and a vote on a Proposition 2½ override June 25.

I have heard opponents to the override float the analogy that when you have less income you start cutting your family budget — you do with less — and that the city should function in the same way. As someone with a fluctuating income, I know this scenario well. However, when we have less income, we do not cut in a way that will undermine the foundation of our life. We may eat out less, eliminate our vacation, eke out more time on the 10-year-old old car, and wait on household repairs that aren’t crucial. But we maintain our health insurance, we fix the roof if it is failing, we do necessary maintenance on the house and car. If we don’t, we know we will pay far more in the long run. We also seek out any way we can to add to our income.

It is the same with the city. The cuts on the table aren’t luxuries or even things we can do without for a while. If the override fails, the city will lose police officers (our first responders in a crisis) and the schools will face cuts to art, music, physical education, special education, and busing. In subsequent years we will face even more cuts. We risk the deterioration of our schools’ reputation, the value of our homes and the city’s bond rating.

If the override passes, it will close the budget gap for the upcoming fiscal year and provide stability for three years beyond that. If the override fails we risk serious damage to the foundation of our city. Please join my family in voting yes.

Megan Rubiner Zinn

Northampton

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