Wednesday, March 28, 2012

House Republican Caucus Offers Local Aid Resolution

In an ongoing commitment to providing fiscal certainty to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns, the House Republican Caucus offered a Local Aid Resolution during today’s full formal session.

In an email distributed to House colleagues, House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), who drafted the resolution, said, “As our cities and towns continue to develop their local budgets during these very tough times they need certainty and reliable information more than ever. It is important that we, as legislators, provide some predictability for our districts.”

The resolution proposes the following:

1. Establish a minimum level of Chapter 70 and Unrestricted Local Aid equal to the amount proposed by the Governor for FY13.

a. The minimum Chapter 70 appropriation - $4.14 billion for FY13,
b. The minimum Unrestricted Local Aid appropriation - $899 million,
c. Reimbursement to Cities in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) - $26.3 million.

2. Establish a modest increase in funding from the amount proposed by the Governor for FY13 for each of the following accounts:

a. Regional School Transportation - $51.5 million,
b. Special Education Residential Schools - $221.6 million.

“As a former local official, I appreciate and understand the need for a strong set of local aid numbers,” said Representative Jones. “Knowing firsthand the current struggle of cities and towns, I am confident that my Republican colleagues and I have presented a strong set of numbers to be considered. I am disappointed that this was not taken up for debate, as many cities and towns in the Commonwealth are anxiously awaiting the release of local aid.”

This resolution would provide, among other things, flexibility during budget debate so that the Legislature may further increase local aid appropriations from an established floor. It would also provide predictability for municipalities who are in the midst of constructing their budgets.

With one single objection, the resolution was referred to the House Committee on Rules without any opportunity for debate.

FY13 Local Aid Reso