Baker-Polito Administration File Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Proposal
On Wednesday, March 4th, Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito filed their first budget proposal, which holds spending to a sustainable 3% increase while investing in key priorities including local aid, education, and transportation.
The fiscally responsible plan brings spending in line with revenue growth for the first time in several years and puts the Commonwealth on the path towards economic growth and stability.
Some other key highlights include:
- A $34 million increase, or 3.6%, in unrestricted local aid to $980 million
- A $105.3 million increase in Chapter 70 funding, which increases funding for all 321 school districts
- A phase in of the Earned Income Tax Credit to 30% of the federal limit while phasing out the Film Tax Credit
- Funding local aid by 75% of revenue growth, a 3.6% increase
- Increasing transportation spending by 20%, including $187 million, or a 53% increase, in direct aid to the MBTA
- An early retirement incentive program to responsibly reduce the state’s administrative spending
To learn more, visit the Governor’s Budget Homepage.
Interim Hiring Controls Policy Issued
It is critical that the Commonwealth takes immediate action to control spending as we continue to refine the size of the current budget gap and consider options to close the gap. As a result, it is necessary to implement a hiring freeze for all Executive Branch agencies. Certain positions critical for public health, direct care, public safety, returns from leave and those deemed necessary to be filled as part of the normal course of transition will be exempted from this freeze.
Please see the Interim Hiring Controls Policy from the Chief Human Resources Officer, Paul Dietl, for further information about this policy.
Administration Establishes a Pause on Filing New Regulations
A pause in the regulatory approval process - during which regulations presumptively will not be approved to be filed -has two primary virtues. First, it permits the Administration to develop a process to streamline the regulations of the Commonwealth in a manner that enables rather than encumbers its citizens. Second, it allows the Administration to focus on the priority of the state budget, both its current-year shortfall and the need to develop a budget for Fiscal Year 2016.
Review of Contracts, Contract Amendments, and Grants Underway
Given the current budgetary challenges, we are evaluating all spending. As such, we are requesting a thorough review of all contractual obligations entered into by executive agencies over the last several months. Each Cabinet Secretary is being asked to review all new contracts, contract amendments, and grants authorized by their agencies since October 1, 2014. The primary purpose of this review is to identify new contractual obligations entered into by the Commonwealth and to assess if this new spending is directly related to the delivery of the agency’s core mission, essential to the operation of government, and affordable.