A final budget bill filed by Gov. Charlie Baker to close out fiscal 2018 has supplemental funding for important local government accounts, including an additional $40 million for local road and bridge projects through the Chapter 90 program and $12.5 million to fully fund the Special Education Circuit Breaker for fiscal 2018.

The governor also asked the Legislature to approve special sections in earlier budget bills that would make technical corrections to the 2016 Municipal Modernization Act and the 2017 adult-use marijuana law.

The fiscal 2018 closeout plan, filed by the governor on July 13, is based on a state tax collection estimate that now exceeds projections set at the beginning of the year by more than $1 billion. While much of this amount is earmarked by state law for the state’s stabilization fund and long-term liabilities, the governor has proposed significant one-time spending for a series of school initiatives and for local road projects.

In addition to the Chapter 90 and special education money, the supplemental budget bill includes:

• $30 million for targeted intervention and turnaround efforts aimed at closing student achievement gaps in districts with high concentrations of low-income students
• $10 million in grants for the Complete Streets and Small Bridges programs
• A year-end transfer of $10 million to increase the state match for the Community Preservation Act program
• $7 million for regional school transportation, which would bring the fiscal 2018 funding level up to about 80 percent
• $8 million to create a multi-year source of revenue to fund municipal police training
• $30 million for the Clean Water Trust revolving fund
• $72 million for a wide-ranging school safety initiative with multiple program components

The bill (H. 4758) was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. As The Beacon went to press, it was unclear when the Legislature might take up the bill.

The MMA has asked the House and Senate to approve these funding requests and to supplement the severely underfunded statutory commitment to help cities and towns offset a portion of the impact of charter school charges on local public schools.

Written by John Robertson, Legislative Director