After weeks of negotiations, the House and Senate early this morning enacted a supplemental state budget bill to close the books on fiscal 2019.

Fiscal 2019 tax collections ran approximately $1.1 billion ahead of projections, and after accounting for increased spending in other mid-year budget bills, the year-end surplus was estimated at $870 million.

The bill would shift $587 million to the state’s stabilization account (also known as the “rainy day” fund), a larger deposit than was part of any previous versions of the budget bill. The remaining supplemental appropriations are therefore significantly smaller across the board than the closeout budgets passed by the House and Senate in October.

The bill includes $20 million for grants to cities and towns for local road projects as a supplement to the Chapter 90 program. This additional appropriation is lower than the $60 million originally passed in separate House and Senate bills or the $40 million filed by the governor last fall.

The bill would transfer $10.65 million to the Clean Water Trust to assist in the remediation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) contamination in local water systems and $9.05 million to help finance improvements to local water systems via the State Revolving Fund. The bill also includes $4.2 million to help cities and towns test for local drinking water contamination related to PFAS.

Key municipal and school aid funding
The bill includes additional funding for the following accounts:

• $5 million for charter school reimbursements to school districts, bringing the final fiscal 2019 appropriation up to $95 million

• $5.19 million for student transportation in regional school districts: $2.5 million for fiscal 2019, which would bring state funding closer to the full funding mark, and $2.6 million set aside for use in funding the fiscal 2020 appropriation

• $2 million for the special education circuit breaker program, which would fully fund the state’s share of this program for fiscal 2019

• $2 million for student transportation reimbursements for homeless students under the federal McKinney-Vento Act

• $1.17 million for the Municipal Regionalization Reserve to help cities and towns develop best practices in vital areas, such as cybersecurity

The final budget bill would also require early voting in the 2020 presidential primary, with $625,000 available to fund a portion of the costs and $1.5 million to increase voter awareness. The bill would also set Sept. 1 as the date of the state primary election. The MMA will be advocating for full reimbursement of the expenses related to new early voting requirements.

Finally, the budget bill includes a number of earmarks for local programs. To review the status of any local projects or appropriations, view the bill text at malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H4246.

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