“Governor Baker’s budget proposal charts a fiscally responsible path for the Commonwealth by limiting spending increases to 1.5 percent over projected Fiscal Year 2019 levels and depositing another $297 million to shore up the state’s rainy day account. Both steps are prudent given the downturn in revenue numbers we’ve seen so far for the month of December and the first half of January.
Since taking office in 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has increased K-12 education funding by half a billion dollars. This latest budget continues to prioritize local aid for our cities and towns by providing $200 million in additional Chapter 70 funding, bringing the total to $5.108 billion, and a $30 million increase in unrestricted aid to help pay for other essential municipal services.
One of the biggest missed opportunities of the 2017-2018 legislative session was the inability of the House and Senate to come to an agreement on revising the state’s education funding formula. With Governor Baker’s decision to put forth a package of funding increases, new policy initiatives, and stronger accountability standards in his budget and an accompanying bill, the stars may now be aligning to implement meaningful reforms to the way education is funded in Massachusetts. I am hopeful the Administration and the Legislature can work together this session to break through the impasse and develop a viable plan to correct the inequities that exist in the funding formula and ensure that every student in Massachusetts has the opportunity to succeed.
The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget gives the Legislature a strong foundation on which to build its own spending plan. I look forward to working with my colleagues and with the Administration over the next few months to develop a spending plan that will fund critical programs and services for our citizens while also remaining accountable to the state’s taxpayers.”