WDTC's Letter to Governor Baker
on ARPA Fund Allocation Equity
March 26th, 2021
To: Governor Charlie Baker
From: Executive Board and Membership of the Wayland Democratic Town Committee
Subject: Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Funds Among Massachusetts Municipalities and Towns
Dear Governor Baker:
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) has made available long-awaited and much-needed aid to citizens who have suffered the economic effects of COVID-19 exacerbated by ongoing income and racial inequality. While the Wayland Democratic Town Committee supports ARPA as a major step forward in addressing a variety of issues related to the pandemic, we are concerned that the current allocation of funds among municipalities and towns within the Commonwealth mirrors those unfortunate inequities.
Specifically, the city of Chelsea with its high percentage of essential workers, low-income households, existing levels of food and housing insecurities as well as dense residential living, is exactly the type of hard hit community that ARPA was designed to assist. Yet, the estimated direct aid per capita is far below some other towns, such as Arlington, with similar populations. Everett is an example of another community hit hard by the pandemic and is not receiving the aid that it should.
We recognize that other communities whose overall demographics do not expose them to the same levels of COVID-related economic risks likely have segments of their populations that require significant aid as well. It is, however, our view that we must do a better job at targeting aid to communities where the effects are most pronounced.
We therefore request that you and your administration make every effort to ensure that aid allocations, including leveraging a portion of the $4.5 billion incoming to the state to directly help communities like Chelsea that are experiencing the most concentrated pain be made more equitable, and reflect both short- and long-term economic needs.
Wayland Democratic Town Committee
Cc: Wayland Democratic Town Committee Members, local state senators and representatives