MMA statement on FY13 budget bill released by Senate Ways & Means Committee

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Municipal leaders across the state are deeply grateful to President Murray, Chairman Brewer and the members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee for advancing an excellent budget for cities and towns.

Communities are struggling mightily to balance their budgets and fund essential services, and President Murray, Chairman Brewer and Senate leaders are embracing a lasting fiscal partnership to strengthen municipal finances and provide funds for public safety, education and other vital local programs.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee’s budget proposal demonstrates that local aid is a top priority for the Massachusetts Senate. The budget recommendations would increase fiscal 2013 municipal and education aid by approximately $130 million above the budget submitted by the Governor in January, an outstanding commitment that would benefit every community in Massachusetts.

According to the MMA’s initial analysis of the budget, the key proposals in the Senate Ways and Means budget recommendations include the following:

• Guaranteed funding for unrestricted municipal aid of $900 million, by adding $66 million to the base Cherry Sheet distribution, instead of relying on a tentative supplemental distribution later in the year.

• Adding $34.7 million to Chapter 70 school aid to ensure that every city, town and school district receives an increase of at least $40 per student above current education aid levels, and to renew the target aid distribution to scores of school districts that was suspended in 2008.

• Fully funding special education reimbursements by increasing funding by $29 million, a major step that would benefit every community and school district in the Commonwealth.