His Excellency Charles D. Baker
Governor of the Commonwealth
State House, Room 360
Boston

Dear Governor Baker,

While the final accounting remains to be done, it appears that the Commonwealth will end fiscal 2019 with far more revenue than was expected when the year began, including more than $1.0 billion in unanticipated tax collections. In addition, Lottery profits through the end of May are running more than $100 million over the same period last year and could exceed the fiscal 2019 forecast by this amount or more.

This welcome year-end news is similar to how fiscal 2018 ended, when tax collections also exceeded the estimate by about $1.0 billion. We appreciate the sound fiscal practice of transferring a part of surplus revenue to the Stabilization Fund as a reserve to use during the next recession or for other unexpected financial challenges. Last year, you recommended that another part be used for one-time investments in state and local capital projects and to cover deficits in key operating budget items. We respectfully request that you include similar items in the final fiscal 2019 budget that you file to close out the year.

Fiscal 2019 Deficits in State Reimbursement Accounts for Public Education
We request a supplemental appropriation to fund the charter school mitigation payment account (7061-9010). City and town officials from across the Commonwealth repeatedly tell us that charter school finance is one of the most challenging and destabilizing parts of the state-local fiscal relationship, including the chronic and severe underfunding of this account.

We also request an appropriation to fully fund the special education circuit breaker program (7061-0012) and to supplement student transportation reimbursements (7035-0006), which you included in your recommendation last year (H. 4758).

Local Capital Investment Accounts
Last year, you included $50 million for local road and bridge projects, including $40 million for local road projects through the Chapter 90 program (1595-6386), $10 million for the Small Bridges and Complete Streets programs (1595-6387), and $30 million for the Clean Water Trust (1599-0093). These important local capital programs are critical to the safety and health of the state’s residents. Additional one-time funding from surplus revenue would help cities and towns move forward toward a state of good repair standard to maintain our transportation and environmental infrastructure systems. We ask you to include these key accounts in your year-end supplemental budget.

Please do not hesitate to have your office contact us at any time if you have any questions or need additional information. Your staff can contact me or MMA Legislative Director John Robertson at 617-426-7272 ext. 122, or jrobertson@mma.org at any time.

We thank you for your partnership with the cities and towns of Massachusetts.

Sincerely,

Geoffrey C. Beckwith
Executive Director & CEO

cc: The Honorable Karyn E. Polito, Lt. Governor
Secretary Michael J. Heffernan, Executive Office for Administration and Finance