By Bob Katzen
The House 152-0, Senate 40-0, approved and sent to Gov. Charlie Baker a $52.7 billion fiscal 2023 state budget for the fiscal year that began July 1, including $1.23 billion in unrestricted general government aid to cities and towns, an increase of $63.1 million over last year.
Other provisions include $187 million to fund the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA); $226.2 million for a safety and workforce reserve to address ongoing safety concerns identified by the Federal Transit Administration’s Safety Management Inspection; $441 million for the Special Education Circuit Breaker, reimbursing school districts for the high cost of educating students with disabilities at the mandated 75 percent reimbursement rate; $23 million for homeless student transportation; $1.5 million to educate middle and high school students on the history of genocide; and $75.3 million for sexual assault and domestic violence prevention services.
Sen. Mike Rodrigues (D-Westport), chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said the budget reflects the Senate’s priorities by upholding fiscal responsibility, supporting the everyday needs of our residents and ensuring the state’s economic foundation remains strong. “It builds long-term economic security for the commonwealth by leveraging the state’s strong revenue growth to make significant investments in areas like early education and care, K-12 schools, mental health, workforce development, housing stability and much more,” said Rodrigues.
“It provides for a significant increase in local aid for our cities and towns while investing in many critical programs to support our schools, seniors and veterans,” said House Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading). “We find ourselves in the enviable position of having more revenues available than initially anticipated, but that makes it even more important to set spending priorities that are hopefully prudent in the near-term and sustainable moving forward.”
“As Massachusetts residents and businesses continue to face discouraging economic uncertainty, the [budget] responds to the financial challenges facing the commonwealth by balancing a focus on immediate needs such as workforce development, with a focus on long-term investments that are designed to grow our economy in a sustainable way,” said House Speaker Ron Mariano (D-Quincy).
“Massachusetts is resilient, and this budget helps us create the conditions to continue being resilient into the future,” said Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland). “This budget incorporates the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic by continuing to save money for a rainy day, invest in support for the most vulnerable among us, and chart a course to ensure that Massachusetts remains a competitive place to innovate for generations to come.”
(A “Yes” vote is for the budget.)
Rep. Christine Barber Yes Rep. Mike Connolly Yes Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven Yes Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes