Mass Governor Charlie Backer sits at a desk with 7 people behind him, handing a pen to a man on the right

Gov. Charlie Baker signs the FY20 state budget bill. (Photo: Sam Doran/State House News Service)

Gov. Charlie Baker this morning signed a fiscal 2020 state budget bill without vetoing any spending in the plan the Legislature sent him last week.

The $43.3 billion budget act includes $1.1 billion for the Unrestricted General Government Aid account, an increase of $29.7 million (2.7 percent) over fiscal 2019 and the same amount that was first proposed by the governor, and $5.2 billion for Chapter 70 education aid, a $268 million increase over fiscal 2019.

The state’s spending plan for the new year is based on a tax collection projection of $30.1 billion, which exceeds the initial estimate reached January. The spending plan also forecasts a year-end deposit in the state’s Stabilization Fund, which could bring the balance to $3.3 billion by the end of the year.

Link to state website for details on the final budget

Link to Division of Local Services for Cherry Sheet amounts based on final budget

Link to Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for Chapter 70 calculations based on final budget

The final budget fully funds the Special Education Circuit Breaker program at $345 million, a $25.7 million increase over last year, and includes $115 million for Charter School Impact Mitigation payments, a $25 million increase over the current year.

Charter school funding
The state spending plan makes several changes to the Charter School Impact Mitigation program, including shifting the current six-year reimbursement program to a three-year framework. It includes a $7.5 million allocation to communities where net charter school tuition costs exceed 9 percent of net school spending and Chapter 70 aid is a lower percentage of the district’s foundation budget than the statewide average.

Under the budget law, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will have a $7.5 million allocation to distribute to communities that have experienced high and sustained growth in charter school enrollments.

Regional school transportation
The budget includes $75.9 million to reimburse regional school districts for a portion of the cost of transporting students, a $7 million increase over fiscal 2019 and closer to the full funding target of $90 million.

Rural schools
The budget provides $2.5 million in one-time funding for rural schools, many of which are struggling with fixed costs and declining enrollment.

Community Preservation Act
The budget law increases recording fees at the registries of deeds to raise an estimated $36 million for the Community Preservation Act Trust Fund. This change would more than double the base percentage match for all 175 CPA cities and towns beginning in November 2020.

The budget signed by the governor would also set aside up to $20 million from the fiscal 2019 budget surplus to supplement the CPA matching funds that will be distributed this fall.

Written by