MMA’s statement on the state budget

The Massachusetts Municipal Association issued the following statement on the budget released by the legislature today –

Key Local Aid Programs $144M Higher than Budget Filed by Gov. in January

“Municipal leaders across the state applaud the leaders and members of the House and Senate for writing an outstanding state budget for cities and towns, and are deeply grateful to Speaker Robert DeLeo, President Therese Murray, Chairman Brian Dempsey, Chairman Stephen Brewer and the members of budget conference committee, Vice Chairman Stephen Kulik, Vice Chairman Jennifer Flanagan, Rep. Vinny deMacedo, and Sen. Michael Knapik.  Communities are struggling mightily to fund essential services, and the state budget before the Legislature today embraces a lasting fiscal partnership to strengthen municipal finances and provide funds for public safety, education and other vital local programs.

“By passing this budget, every legislator is demonstrating their commitment to local aid, and their determination to invest in cities and towns as an essential step in the state’s economic recovery.  The Legislature’s budget will increase fiscal 2013 municipal and education aid by approximately $144 million above the budget submitted by the Governor in January, and $289 million above  current fiscal 2012 levels, an outstanding achievement that will benefit every community in Massachusetts.”
According to the MMA’s initial analysis of the budget, the key proposals in the Legislature’s fiscal 2013 state budget include the following:
• Guaranteed funding for unrestricted municipal aid of $899 million, by adding $65 million to the base Cherry Sheet distribution, instead of relying on a tentative supplemental distribution later in the year.
• Adding $34.7 million to Chapter 70 school aid above the Governor’s recommendation to ensure that every city, town and school district receives an increase of at least $40 per student above current education aid levels, and to renew the target aid distribution to scores of school districts that was suspended in 2008.
• Fully funding Special Education reimbursements by increasing funding by $29 million, a major step that would benefit every community and school district in the Commonwealth.
• Providing $11.3 million for the transportation of homeless students under the McKinney-Vento Act, adding a new line item to reimburse cities and towns for the cost of this new mandate.
• Increasing funding for regional school transportation reimbursements by $2 million, bringing funding up to $45.5 million.
• In addition to standard local aid accounts, the Legislature’s budget would provide up to $25 million in funding for the Community Preservation Act in fiscal 2014 by creating a mechanism to allocate a portion of any state budget surplus remaining at the end of fiscal 2013.

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