Category Archives: Legislature

House budget proposals give town only 2.7% & 2.3% bumps

Email from Rep. Garlick to Town Administrator, Kristine Trierweiler re House budget numbers for Town of Medfield –

From: Garlick, Denise – Rep. (HOU) <Denise.Garlick@mahouse.gov> Date: Wed, Apr 13, 2022 at 4:49 PM Subject: Medfield Local Aid Update in House Ways and Means Budget To: Kristine Trierweiler <ktrierweiler@medfield.net>

Dear Kristine,

Today, I was proud to join Speaker Ron Mariano and Chairman Aaron Michlewitz to release the House Ways and Means Committee budget recommendations. I just wanted to share with you the preliminary local aid numbers for the town of Medfield:

Unrestricted Local Aid: $1,636,170

Increase of $43,015 (2.7%) over FY22

 

Chapter 70 Funding: $6,507,474

Increase of $145,740 (2.3%) over FY22

  The next step in the process is to debate the budget before the entire House of Representatives. We plan to do this the week of April 25. It is during this time I will advocate for Medfield-specific priorities. I will follow up after the House budget process is finalized with the final numbers for FY23 as well as next steps.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Denise

 Denise C. Garlick

State Representative

13th Norfolk District: Needham, Dover and Medfield* (precinct 1 and 2)

Chair: Committee on Bills in Third Reading

State House Room 448

Boston, Massachusetts 02133

617-722-2582

Denise.Garlick@MAHouse.gov

 

MMA on the state budget – more should be due towns

From the Massachusetts Municipal Association this afternoon –

Please Urge Your Legislators to Support Key Local Government Priorities for Fiscal Year 2023  

Please Call Your Representatives and Senators Today and Ask Them To:  

• Increase UGGA by 7.3%, not 2.7%
• Increase Chapter 70 Aid Minimum Aid to $100/student
• Fully Fund School Transportation Accounts
• Fully Fund PILOT
• Pass a Multi-year $300M Chapter 90 Bond Bill  

Increase Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) by 7.3%

Please ask your legislators to provide a strong commitment to revenue sharing by increasing Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) by 7.3%, or $85.3 million, to bring the account up to $1.253 billion in FY23. State tax collections in FY23 are projected to grow by 7.3% above the revenue base that was used in the FY22 budget that the Legislature adopted last July. The budget filed by the Governor (House 2) only offers a far-too-low 2.7% increase, and does not reflect full revenue sharing.   Between FY15 and FY20, the state’s revenue-sharing calculation worked well, providing adequate and dependable increases for UGGA that kept pace with state revenue growth – UGGA and state revenues each increased by 19% over these years. But during the past two years, the state’s revenue forecasts have been far lower than actual collections, and this threatens to leave cities and towns behind. State tax revenues have grown by 22% in FY21 and 22, but UGGA has only increased by 3.5%.   By tying UGGA increases to the growth from the FY22 enacted budget to January’s FY23 revenue forecast, this adjustment could be made and the UGGA account would increase by a total of $85.3 million. This would more adequately reflect the last two years of unprecedented state revenue growth, while acknowledging that future year tax revenues may return to more modest growth patterns.   UGGA provides essential funding for municipalities, allowing communities to deliver core services to residents and businesses, while mitigating further overreliance on the property tax. As you know, discretionary local aid suffered disproportionately large cuts during the Great Recession, and is still nearly $150 million below fiscal 2008 levels, without adjusting for inflation.

For FY23, the MMA requests an 7.3% increase in UGGA funding levels, to a new total of $1.253 billion.  

Click Here to See the Impact that Adequately Funding UGGA with a 7.3% Increase Would Have on your City or Town  

Increase Chapter 70 minimum aid to $100 per student Please thank your legislators for their commitment to fund Chapter 70 School Aid and fulfill the promises made in the Student Opportunity Act. Because this reflects the implementation of the SOA’s foundation budget enhancements, the majority of the new funding in House 2 would go to expansion of the foundation budget, adding weight for low-income students, English Language Learners, special education costs, and school employee health benefits. Unfortunately, 135 of 318 operating districts (42%) would receive only the minimum $30 per-student increase in the Student Opportunity Act, providing Chapter 70 increases of 1% or less, far below inflation. These 135 districts would receive a total of $9.3 million in new aid, while the other districts would receive $475 million more.

Please ask your legislators to increase minimum aid to $100 per student to ensure that all districts can at least keep pace with inflation and maintain their school services.   Fully Fund School Transportation Accounts (various line items)

In mid-March, DESE will release the FY23 projected costs associated with school transportation. We know that the Governor’s budget would cut regional transportation reimbursements below FY22 levels and would significantly underfund out-of-district vocational transportation. Please ask the Legislature to use DESE’s projections when published, to fully fund these key accounts, as well as the McKinney-Vento account for transporting homeless students.

Please ask your legislators for full funding of all school transportation accounts.  

Fully Fund PILOT

MMA supports full funding of the Commonwealth’s obligations to the program for payments in lieu of taxes for state-owned land (PILOT). The House 2 proposal would level fund this account at $35 million. A report completed by the state auditor in December 2020 found that this account has not met the state’s obligation in 20 years, and that the funding for fiscal 2020 should have been $45 million.   This is a particularly important program for the cities and towns that host and provide municipal services to state facilities that are exempt from the local property tax, and we applaud the Legislature’s fiscal 2022 increase, which initiated a path to phasing-in full funding. Unfortunately, H. 2 would stall that progress.  

Please ask your legislators to make an important investment in the PILOT program and continue the commitment to full funding.

When discussing the details, please ask them to support the auditor’s recommendation to fully fund this account based on the aggregate tax method, and ask for a “hold harmless” provision to protect municipalities with reduced land values and PILOT reimbursements.  

Pass a Multi-year $300M Chapter 90 Bond Bill & Support Supplemental Funding

While separate from the annual budget process, Chapter 90 funding for local roads and bridges is a key priority for municipalities. Chapter 90 is a critical program for all cities and towns across the Commonwealth, and it needs both short- and long-term support. Chapter 90 allocations have been generally flat at $200 million since fiscal 2012, and the purchasing power of that funding has been substantially diminished. Since fiscal 2012, the real value of Chapter 90 funding has dropped by at least 42% due to construction inflation.   The MMA estimates that the current Chapter 90 bond program ($200 million) is far short of the more than $600 million annual investment actually needed to maintain municipal roads. This figure was most recently calculated as of fall 2021, so the number today is likely even higher due to additional inflationary pressures and higher costs of supplies and materials.  

Please ask your legislators to pass a multi-year $300 million Chapter 90 bond bill by April 1, so municipalities can efficiently plan projects and take advantage of the construction season from the start. In addition, with a rapidly-growing need and many shovel-ready projects, we are requesting a separate, one-time $100 million supplemental appropriation, which was first proposed in the Governor’s FY22 supplemental budget.  

Click here to see MMA’s detailed testimony on key municipal budget priorities for FY23 Click here to see MMA’s detailed testimony on Chapter 90  

Please Contact Your Legislators Today!   Thank You Very Much!

MBTA Communities Law requires multifamily zoning in town or we lose state grants

From the Charles River Chamber Regional Chamber enewsletter today –

At issue is that new zoning reform law — the MBTA Communities Law – that’s designed to chip away at two urgent problems: Our housing crisis and our climate crisis.

As I wrote yesterday, the new law doesn’t mandate new housing. It changes zoning codes to allow property owners to build small multi-unit homes if they choose — a process that could take years, or decades, if ever.

We’re not talking about massive apartment towers. The law is designed to encourage more townhouses, triple-deckers and carriage houses near T-stops — instead of McMansions.

Failure to rezone would make a community ineligible for certain state grants, according to draft regulations.

MBTA Communities – Cohort Designations and Capacity Calculations (Excel)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

See also the white paper done by the Boston Foundation on this legislation.

State budget – Gov.’s version – town share up $96K

From the Massachusetts Municipal Association this afternoon –





 

GOV. BAKER FILES $48.5 BILLION FY23 SPENDING PLAN
FILES A COMPANION $693M TAX RELIEF BILL
• $31.5M INCREASE IN UNRESTRICTED MUNICIPAL AID (2.7%)
• CH. 70 PLAN WOULD INCREASE FY23 SCHOOL AID BY $485M (8.8%)
• 43% OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS WOULD RECEIVE NEW AID OF ONLY $30/STUDENT
• CHARTER SCHOOL & SPECIAL ED REIMBURSEMENTS INCREASE
• MIXED RESULTS FOR OTHER MUNICIPAL AND SCHOOL ACCOUNTS
 
At 2 p.m. today, Gov. Charlie Baker submitted a $48.5 billion fiscal 2023 state budget plan, House 2, with the Legislature.
 
UNRESTRICTED GENERAL GOVERNMENT AID WOULD INCREASE BY $31.5 MILLION
Gov. Baker’s budget includes a $31.5 million increase in the Unrestricted General Government Aid account, a 2.7% increase over fiscal 2022 levels. As the MMA stated during our Annual Meeting this past weekend, a 2.7% increase is too low, and we will be working with local leaders and lawmakers to advocate for an increase that reflects the actual growth in revenues that the state is receiving. With capped property taxes and inflation running higher than 2.7%, cities and towns need a much higher level of UGGA aid to maintain essential services.
 
The Administration is calculating revenue growth using a methodology that omits a large portion of the record-setting revenue collections that the state has experienced during the past year. This way of benchmarking growth works to the disadvantage of cities and towns, and minimizes revenue sharing amounts. Fiscal 2023 state tax collections will be $2.5 billion higher (7.3%) than the tax base that was used to pass the fiscal 2022 budget last July, and $6.8 billion higher (22%) than the original FY22 projection from a year ago. The Administration is using the highest possible revenue estimate for fiscal 2022 ($35.95 billion, set less than two weeks ago), which would tie UGGA to an artificially low growth projection, even though actual growth will be much higher.
 
Click here to see the Division of Local Services preliminary fiscal 2023 Cherry Sheet aid amounts for your city or town
 
Click here to see the Division of Local Services preliminary fiscal 2023 Cherry Sheet aid amounts for regional school districts
 
OVERALL CHAPTER 70 SCHOOL AID WOULD GO UP BY $485 MILLION, AN 8.8% INCREASE – ALTHOUGH 43% OF DISTRICTS WOUD REMAIN AT MINIMUM AID ONLY
The Governor’s budget recommendation continues implementation of the funding schedules in the 2019 Student Opportunity Act (SOA) that were delayed in fiscal 2021 and then funded at a rate of one-sixth, rather than one-seventh, in fiscal 2022 to stay on track with the law’s intended implementation schedule. House 2 represents funding the Student Opportunity Act at a rate of two-sixths.
 
Fulfilling the commitments in the Student Opportunity Act, the Governor’s fiscal 2023 budget submission would bring Chapter 70 school aid up to $5.98 billion, a $485 million increase in school aid. The majority of the funds would implement the improvements to the foundation budget, adding weight for low-income students, English Language Learners, special education costs, and school employee health benefits. While this is important progress, an initial examination of the budget indicates that 136 of 318 operating districts (43%) would remain minimum-aid-only, and receive the minimum $30 per-student increase in the Act. These 136 districts would receive a total increase of $9.3 million, and the remaining districts would receive $475.8 million more. The MMA will continue to strongly advocate for minimum aid of $100 per student to ensure that all districts can at least keep pace with inflation and maintain their school services.
 
Click here to see DESE’s calculation of fiscal 2023 Chapter 70 aid and Net School Spending requirements for your city, town, or regional school district,
based on the Governor’s proposed budget and legislation.
 
This landing page will also include the preliminary fiscal 2023 charter school assessments and reimbursements.
 
CHARTER SCHOOL REIMBURSEMENTS WOULD INCREASE TO $219M – CHARTER FUNDING REMAINS A SERIOUS PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED
The Governor’s budget would increase the charter school reimbursement account up to $219 million, intended to meet the commitment in the Student Opportunity Act to fund 90% of the state’s 100-60-40 statutory obligation to mitigate Chapter 70 losses to charter schools. A portion of this $64.8 million increase would simply be a pass-through to charter schools by funding an increase in the per-student facilities amount that charter schools receive.
 
The Student Opportunity Act pledges to phase in full funding of the statutory reimbursement formula over three years, and while this plan may continue to meet that requirement, it would not fix the serious flaws in the charter school finance system. Charter schools will continue to divert a high percentage of Chapter 70 funds away from many municipally operated school districts, and place greater strain on the districts that serve the vast majority of public school children. Major problems will continue unless a true resolution of the charter school funding problem is achieved, which is a top MMA priority.
 
SPECIAL EDUCATION CIRCUIT BREAKER INCREASED TO $414M
The Governor’s budget would add $41.2 million to fund the Special Education Circuit Breaker program at $414 million, an increase of 11%. The Student Opportunity Act expanded the special education circuit breaker by including out-of-district transportation, an important enhancement for cities and towns.
 
REGIONAL SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION REIMBURSEMENTS CUT BY 5.3%
Gov. Baker’s budget submission would reduce funding for regional transportation reimbursements from $82.1 million this fiscal year to $77.8 million. This would be a hardship for virtually all communities in regional districts. Reimbursements for transportation of out-of-district vocational students remains significantly underfunded at $250,000. Increasing these accounts is a priority for cities and towns and the MMA.
 
McKINNEY-VENTO REIMBURSEMENTS INCREASED
The Governor’s budget would increase reimbursements for the transportation of homeless students from $14.4 million this year to $22.9 million in fiscal 2023. The impact of this funding level will vary from community-to-community depending on the number of homeless families that remain sheltered in local hotels and motels. The Administration has been successful in reducing the number of homeless students who are dislocated from their original district, but those communities that continue to provide transportation to many students rely on this account.
 
PAYMENTS-IN-LIEU-OF-TAXES (PILOT) LEVEL-FUNDED
The Governor’s budget would level-fund PILOT payments at $35 million, which would be a significant hardship for many smaller, rural communities with large amounts of state-owned land. This is a key account due to the major impact that PILOT payments have on budgets in very small communities, and level-funding falls short of the Legislature’s goal of phasing in full funding by fiscal 2024.
 
THE GOVERNOR IS PROPOSING APPROXIMATELY $700 MILLION TO FUND TAX CUTS
As Gov. Baker announced at his State of the Commonwealth address last night, and when he released his budget proposal today, he is proposing a series of tax cuts, many targeted for struggling residents, and others targeted toward wealthier individuals. These provisions would permanently reduce state revenues, essentially opting for tax reductions over funding for existing or new state programs. The Legislature is expected to examine these closely before making commitments. These are the main items (cost estimates are very preliminary):
 
– Doubling the tax credits for dependent care ($167 million)
– Increasing the cap on the income tax deduction for rent from $3,000 to $5,000 ($77 million)
– Doubling the maximum Senior Property Tax Circuit Breaker tax credit ($60 million)
– Reducing the estate tax ($277 million)
– Reducing the short-term capital gains tax rate to 5% ($117 million)
– Increasing the no-tax threshold for lower-wage taxpayers ($41 million)
 
PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS TODAY AND LET THEM KNOW THAT CITIES AND TOWNS NEED UNRESTRICTED GENERAL GOVERNMENT AID TO INCREASE BY MORE THAN 2.7%. WITH RECORD STATE REVENUE COLLECTIONS, LOCAL AID NEEDS A HIGHER INCREASE TO FUND ESSENTIAL SERVICES IN OUR COMMUNITIES.
 
WHEN TALKING WITH YOUR LEGISLATORS, EXPLAIN THE NEED FOR ADEQUATE FUNDING FOR KEY ACCOUNTS, INCLUDING HIGHER MINIMUM EDUCATION AID AND FULL FUNDING FOR REGIONAL SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION, PAYMENTS-IN-LIEU-OF-TAXES, AND CHARTER SCHOOL REIMBURSEMENTS
 
THANK YOU!

 













 
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HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES $3.65B SPENDING PLAN FOR ARPA AND STATE SURPLUS  

From the Massachusetts Municipal Association this afternoon –

HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES $3.65B SPENDING PLAN FOR ARPA AND STATE SURPLUS  

October 25, 2021  

Dear Osler Peterson,  

Today, the House Committee on Ways and Means announced a $3.65 billion spending plan that draws from two revenue sources: the state’s multi-billion dollar fiscal 2021 surplus and its allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act’s State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund.  

The House proposal (H. 4219) targets seven major categories: housing, environment and climate change mitigation, economic development, workforce, health and human services, education, and food insecurity.   House members have until 3 p.m. on Tuesday to file amendments, and debate is scheduled to begin on Thursday. After the House approves its proposal, the Senate is expected to offer its own bill in the coming weeks.  

The following are the highlights of H. 4219:  

Housing The $600 million proposed for housing programs includes targeted investments in supportive housing production, public housing maintenance, homeownership assistance, the CommonWealth Building Program, and affordable housing production.  

Environment and climate The bill includes $350 million for environmental infrastructure and development spending, with a focus on environmental justice communities. Targeted investments include Marine Port Development and Offshore Wind, environmental infrastructure projects aimed at bolstering communities’ climate resiliency, water and sewer infrastructure improvements, greening the Gateway Cities, and upgrades to state parks and recreational facilities.   Of the $350 million, $100 million would go to low-income, environmental justice and urban communities to improve climate resiliency. A $100 million water and sewer infrastructure component also prioritizes projects that support environmental justice populations and those disproportionately impacted by the public health emergency.  

Economic development With $777 million allocated for economic development, the House proposal includes a $500 million investment in the Unemployment Trust Fund, aid for the recovery of the cultural sector of the economy through the Massachusetts Cultural Council, funding for the YouthWorks summer jobs program, tax relief for small businesses, and money to help close the digital divide and assist in the resettlement of Afghan refugees.  

Workforce The bill would focus $750 million on workforce issues, including $500 million for premium pay bonuses for essential workers who worked in-person during the state of emergency, as well as funds for the Workforce Competitive Trust Fund and career technical institutes and vocational schools.  

Health and human services The bill targets relief for financially strained providers, such as hospital and nursing facilities, and investments in workforce initiatives, behavioral health programs, technical infrastructure for community health center improvements, prison reentry grants, and community-based violence prevention.  

Education The House proposal seeks to address disparities in public school facilities, including $100 million for HVAC grants to be distributed through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education under the guidance of the Racial Imbalance Advisory Council. Additional education investments include higher education capital projects, the endowment incentive program, special education needs, and pathways to educator licensure for Black, indigenous, and people of color.  

Food insecurity The bill includes $78 million to address food insecurity, focusing on infrastructure grants.  

In June, Gov. Charlie Baker proposed his plan to spend roughly half of the Commonwealth’s State and Local Coronavirus Relief Funds, and in August, the governor filed a separate supplemental budget bill to spend a large portion of the fiscal 2021 state surplus. The Legislature passed a scaled-back supplemental budget — signed by the governor on Oct. 21 — that delayed decisions on how to spend much of the state surplus.
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Higher Logic

Medfield’s FY2022 Preliminary Cherry Sheet Estimates show a $130K increase over last year

These state aide estimates are from the Division of Local Services (DLS) at the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. Next a conference committee has to reconcile the different amounts proposed by the legislature and the senate. –

Senate W&M budget released

SENATE W&M COMMITTEE OFFERS $47.6B FY22 BUDGET WITH KEY INVESTMENTS IN MUNICIPAL & SCHOOL AID 

• INCLUDES THE FULL $39.5M INCREASE IN UGGA
• INCREASES CHAPTER 70 BY $220M ABOVE FY21,FUNDING THE STUDENT OPPORTUNITY ACT ON SCHEDULE
• INCREASES CHARTER SCHOOL REIMBURSEMENTS BY $31.7M• ADDS $46M FOR STUDENT ENROLLMENT AND SUMMER SCHOOL GRANTS
• INCLUDES $389M TO FUND THE SPECIAL EDUCATION CIRCUIT BREAKER• ADDS $1M TO McKINNEY-VENTO REIMBURSEMENTS OVER FY21
•ADDS $4M TO PILOT 

May 11, 2021 

Dear Osler Peterson, 

Earlier today, the Senate Ways & Means Committee advanced a $47.6 billion fiscal 2022 state budget plan to the full Senate for consideration later this month. The plan would increase overall state expenditures by 2.6% over the current year’s budget, and reflects a 4.3% increase over the Governor’s January budget proposal. The SW&M budget matches the 3.5% increase in Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) in the Governor’s and House budgets, would significantly increase Chapter 70 school aid, and includes $40 million in a one-time grant program targeting student enrollment decline. 

The full Senate will start debate on the FY22 budget on Tuesday, May 25, and Senate members must file all budget amendments by 2 p.m. on Friday, May 14. The Senate usually considers over 1,000 amendments during budget debate week. 

The SW&M budget would increase funding for other major aid programs by adding $220 million to Chapter 70 aid over FY21; $37 million in additional funds for Charter School Mitigation payments, and an additional $1 million for McKinney-Vento transportation for homeless students. To acknowledge student enrollment declines due to the public health emergency, S. 3 would set aside $40 million in a one-time reserve account to assist districts impacted by the decline, as well as $6 million in one-time grant funding for summer school and student mental health support. The proposal would also provide an increase of $1 million for public libraries and $1 million for regional public libraries. S.3 also proposes a $4 million increase for the Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOT) for state-owned land account. 

Later Today or by the End of the Week, You Can Use This Link to See Your Community’s Local Aid and Preliminary Cherry Sheet Numbers in the Senate Ways & Means Budget, as Posted by the Division of Local Services 

You Can Link to the SW&M Committee’s Budget Here 

Chapter 70

The Senate Ways & Means budget would increase Chapter 70 aid by $220 million over FY21, bringing the total to $5.503 billion. S. 3 would fund the “goal rates” originally set forth in the Student Opportunity Act, which set a seven-year schedule that was to begin in FY21 but was sidelined last year due to the public health emergency. To get back on track, the MMA joined with other education advocates to ask the Legislature to fund Chapter 70 at an SOA implementation rate of one-sixth rather than one-seventh in order to return to the intended schedule. The House-Senate local aid agreement included a commitment to fund the Student Opportunity Act increases at one-sixth. S. 3 includes a one-time provision, introduced in the Governor’s budget and supported by the MMA, that would allow municipalities to use a portion of their school district’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER II) federal grant award toward the increase from last year in their required local contribution. The House did not include this language. 

Rural School Aid
Rural School Aid is funded at $3 million, reinserting an important account for rural school districts, especially those struggling with declining enrollment. The Governor funded this account at $1.5 million, half of the FY21 appropriation, and the House did not include the line item. 

Special Education Circuit Breaker
S. 3 provides $387.9 million, including approximately $15 million funds carried over from the previous year, for the Special Education Circuit Breaker, reimbursing school districts for the high cost of educating students with disabilities at the statutorily required 75% reimbursement rate. This reimbursement rate, as well as the inclusion of costs associated with out-of-district transportation, reflect obligations outlined in the Student Opportunity Act. The total appropriation is higher than the budgets offered by the Governor and the House. 

Charter Schools
To address charter school mitigation payments, S. 3 includes $149.1 million to reimburse school districts at 75%, the rate set forth in year one of the Student Opportunity Act implementation schedule, for costs incurred when students leave to attend charter schools, which is $5 million below the House budget. The MMA points out that charter school finance presents a major challenge to many districts, in a number of cases negating the increases districts realize in Chapter 70 aid. 

School Transportation
The Senate Ways and Means budget decreases regional school transportation to $78.6 million. The House budget was higher at $82 million. The Senate Ways and Means budget would increase transportation for homeless students under McKinney-Vento by $1 million over FY21, to $14.4 million. Out-of-district vocational transportation is level-funded at $250,000. 

PILOT Funding Increased
Recognizing the importance of Payments-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOTS) for state-owned land, the Senate Ways & Means Committee increased the line item to $35 million (a $4 million increase over FY21). The Governor’s budget had recommended level-funding at $31 million; the House increased the account to $33 million. Underfunding PILOT over the years has created a significant hardship for smaller communities with large amounts of state-owned property. 

Shannon Grants, Cybersecurity, and Library Aid
S. 3 includes level-funding for the Shannon grants for gang violence prevention and intervention, and includes critical funding for the Mass Cybersecurity Innovation Fund, which provides important outreach and training programs for municipalities. The accounts for public libraries and regional public libraries would each see an increase of $1 million, matching the House proposal. 

SUMMARY
It is clear that Senate leaders are prioritizing K-12 funding, unrestricted municipal aid and other increases for cities and towns, as they advance an agenda to ensure stability during a time of uncertainty. The local funding aid agreement reached by the Joint Ways and Means Committee last month, including commitments to UGGA, Chapter 70, and the acknowledgement of school enrollment challenges, creates a more stable budget-setting process for cities and towns in the weeks and months ahead. This progress is deeply appreciated. During the budget debate and legislative session, the MMA will work to build on this progress, and will continue to advocate for full funding of the education funding priorities outlined in the Student Opportunity Act, fixing the serious problems caused by the current charter school system, securing higher Chapter 70 minimum aid increases, achieving full funding for all municipal and school reimbursement programs including transportation accounts, and providing higher PILOT funding. 

Please Call Your Senators Today to Thank Them for the Local Aid Investments in the Senate Ways and Means Committee Budget. 

Please Explain How the Senate Ways and Means Budget Would Impact Your Community, and Ask Your Senators to Build on this Progress During the Budget Debate. 

DLS on state aid this year

From DLS about the state aid for our current fiscal year that started 7/1/2020 –

Baseline FY21 UGGA and Chapter 70 Information Now Available

Dear Local Official,

I am writing to share that information about Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) funding for Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) and Chapter 70 education aid is now available on the Division of Local Services website.

While critical information from the federal government is still needed in order to finalize a full fiscal year budget for the Commonwealth, the Baker-Polito Administration and the Legislature are committing to no less than the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) level of funding for UGGA and Chapter 70 education aid as a baseline amount for FY21 funding.

The FY21 funding commitment also includes Chapter 70 increases for inflation and enrollment that will keep all school districts at foundation, under the law as it existed for FY20, providing an additional $107 million in aid over FY20. This increase comes in addition to approximately $450 million in new federal supports for K-12 schools to assist with educating students during the pandemic.

Please click here to view the UGGA and Chapter 70 amounts for each municipality. Local officials with related questions can email databank@dor.state.ma.us.

Sincerely,

Michael J. Heffernan
Secretary of Administration and Finance

State aid level funded

From the Massachusetts Municipal Association this afternoon –

STATE LEADERS ANNOUNCE LEVEL FUNDING FOR MAJOR LOCAL AID ACCOUNTS

FY21 UGGA TO BE LEVEL FUNDED AT FY20 AMOUNTS

FY21 CHAPTER 70 SCHOOL AID AT LEAST LEVEL FUNDED FOR ALL

 

July 30, 2020

After months of uncertainty regarding the size of the state’s fiscal crisis, state leaders today announced a framework for protecting the two main sources of local aid in the state’s fiscal 2021 state budget. According to a statement issued by A&F Secretary Michael Heffernan, the Governor and Legislature are committing to no less than level funding of Unrestricted General Government Aid and Chapter 70 education aid as the baseline amount for fiscal 2021 funding for each community.

Because of the difficulty in projecting tax collections, unanswered questions about whether the federal government will provide fiscal relief, and the unknown impact that the coronavirus will have this fall, the Legislature has enacted a bill to continue with a temporary budget through October 31. The state had previously adopted a one-twelfth budget through July, and has added a 3-month extension. This will give lawmakers and the Administration more time to gather information and shape their budget plans.

Knowing that local officials need firm information on local aid and school funding in order to finalize their municipal budgets, the state’s top leaders have joined together to provide guidance to cities and towns, and the news is good for communities.

In an alert issued via the Division of Local Services, the Baker-Polito Administration announced that House and Senate leaders and the Governor would be protecting the two major local aid accounts, UGGA and Chapter 70, from cuts as they set the state’s fiscal 2021 budget later this fall.

They announced that the $1.13 billion Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) program will be level funded at fiscal 2020 amounts for all communities, and that all cities and towns will receive at least level funding of their Chapter 70 education aid. Some school districts will receive school aid increases due to inflation and enrollment under the current formula. In total, Chapter 70 school aid will increase by $107 million, bringing that account up to $5.28 billion.

Click here to download the topline local aid UGGA and Chapter 70 numbers for each community and school district, as released by DLS this afternoon.

Local officials with questions about the numbers can email DLS at databank@state.ma.us.

The Governor-House-Senate framework closely matches the MMA’s request to state leaders, which the association delivered earlier this week. MMA has asked state leaders to protect local aid from cuts by preserving aid at fiscal 2020 levels at a minimum.

Please click here to read MMA’s July 27 letter to state leaders.

MMA immediately applauded the local aid framework, issuing the following statement:

“This is very welcome news for cities and towns in every corner of Massachusetts. With the state facing a budget shortfall of between $6 billion to $8 billion due to the COVID-19 recession, local leaders have been very concerned about the potential impact on local aid. Today, the Governor, House and Senate have demonstrated that the state-local relationship is a true partnership. “By protecting local aid during this crisis, the state will maintain vital financial support for cities and towns. With this key financial guidance, communities can finalize their fiscal 2021 budgets, allowing them to continue their work fighting the coronavirus pandemic and delivering the essential quality-of-life services that drive our economy. This framework will benefit every resident and business in the Commonwealth, and we are deeply grateful to Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito, Speaker DeLeo, President Spilka, House and Senate Budget Chairs Michlewitz and Rodrigues, and their colleagues in the Legislature.”

MMA Zoom meeting

MMA

I attended at noon today a meeting of the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s Massachusetts Select Board Association (NB – MSA changed its name this year from “Selectmen”).  Bleak news about the state budget and the financial aid we will get from the state next fiscal year starting July 1 – may be down 20% this coming year.  The legislative delegation is coming to the Select Board meeting next Tuesday to personally share the bad news.

The only good news was at the end of this slide –

State Revenue and Budget Outlook
• Legislature has Announced that the Fiscal 2021 Budget Process is Delayed
• Administration & Legislative Budget Writers Held New Revenue
Hearing to Revisit Revenue Forecast, with $4B to $6B Shortfall Estimated
• State Budget Process Unclear (Joint Budget? Temporary Budgets?)
• GOOD NEWS … $3.5 Billion in the State Rainy Day Fund should Help to
Mitigate Fiscal 2020 Revenue Shortfalls (and Increased Expenditures)
• GOOD NEWS … Massachusetts Received $2.67 Billion from the Federal
CARES Act to Pay for Unexpected/Unbudgeted COVID-19 Expenses