|Fiscal Affairs Division|
*Includes $539.6 million in unappropriated lottery funds for Fiscal
Year 1998 and $484.2 million in unappropriated lottery funds for Fiscal Year 1997
Fiscal Year 1998 Cherry Sheet Overview
The Division of Municipal Services, within the Department of Revenue,
annually notifies cities, towns, and regional school districts
of the aid and assessments the Commonwealth will make to them
in the upcoming fiscal year. Originally, these notifications were
printed on cherry-colored paper, and therefore were given the
name "cherry sheets."
In Fiscal Year 1998, cherry sheet appropriations will total $3.77
billion, providing cities and towns with a direct local aid increase
of $302.3 million, 8.8% over Fiscal Year 1997 levels. Since Fiscal
Year 1992, total cherry sheet appropriations have increased by
$1.5 billion, or 58%. The Fiscal Year 1998 budgetary recommendation
represents the highest cherry sheet appropriation to date. The
distribution of lottery proceeds will increase by $55.4 million,
continuing the Weld/Cellucci Administration's commitment to phase
out the lottery cap. This increase will be distributed to cities
and towns through the lottery formula. If State Lottery Fund revenue
growth exceeds current projections, the additional increase will
be distributed to cities and towns through the lottery formula.
Chapter 70 Education Reform Aid will increase by $222 million,
continuing the Weld/Cellucci Administration's commitment to fully
fund Education Reform as that initiative begins its fifth year.
CHERRY SHEET PROGRAMS
The state aid distributed through the cherry sheets is comprised
of several programs administered by a variety of state agencies.
These programs, and their Fiscal Year 1998 funding levels, are
Treasurer and Receiver-General
In Fiscal Year 1998, additional assistance, payments-in-lieu of
taxes for state-owned land, and the local share of the racing
tax are funded at Fiscal Year 1997 levels. Lottery proceeds distributed
directly through the lottery formula will increase by $55.4 million,
as the phase-out of the Commonwealth's share of lottery revenue
The Division of Municipal Services administers the Federally-Aided
Urban Renewal, State Urban Renewal, and Urban Revitalization and
Development Grant programs. These programs reimburse cities and
towns for a portion of the costs related to urban renewal projects,
which are targeted at redeveloping downtown areas, neighborhoods,
industrial parks, and commercial areas. The programs also provide
technical assistance to municipalities, organizations, and local
businesses; provide funding for rehabilitation of low and moderate
income housing units; and assist local businesses by providing
financial assistance. The Commonwealth also provides reimbursements
to cities and towns for tax exemptions granted to qualifying veterans,
blind persons, surviving spouses, and elderly persons. Fiscal
Year 1998 funding will enable the Commonwealth to provide the
same level of service as in Fiscal Year 1997.
The Office of Veterans' Services, within the Executive Office
for Administration and Finance, administers veterans' benefits
programs, which reimburse cities and towns for 75% of the costs
of benefits for veterans and their dependents. These benefits
include allowances for food, clothing, shelter, heat, medical,
and burial expenses. Fiscal Year 1998 funding will ensure that
service levels can continue at Fiscal Year 1997 service levels.
Board of Library Commissioners
The Board of Library Commissioners oversees two cherry sheet programs: aid to local public libraries and aid to regional public libraries. The state aid distributed through these two programs assists municipalities in providing free library services and helps to defray the costs of providing regional public library services. With this aid, regional libraries are able to provide support services to municipal libraries, including interlibrary loans, research and reference searches, and the delivery of materials between libraries. The Fiscal Year 1998 funding level for libraries is equal to the Fiscal Year 1997 funding level.
The cherry sheet contains aid for several education programs.
In Fiscal Year 1998, direct financial assistance in the form of
Chapter 70 Education Reform Aid payments distributed through the
Education Reform formula will increase by $222 million. School
Building Assistance reimbursements, which provide municipalities
and regional school districts with financial assistance for the
planning and construction of school buildings, will increase by
$24 million. Additionally, the Commonwealth will increase reimbursements
for pupil transportation to regional schools by $1.5 million.
The Executive Office of Public Safety administers the police career
incentives program, through which the Commonwealth reimburses
cities and towns for 50% of the costs associated with providing
incentive education programs to police officers. These incentives
are offered in the form of salary increases as the officers earn
undergraduate and graduate degrees. The Fiscal Year 1998 recommended
funding will equal the Fiscal Year 1997 funding level.
Transportation and Construction
To reimburse municipalities for costs incurred in the construction,
maintenance, and policing of local streets and roads, the Commonwealth
distributes Highway Fund monies (funded through the motor vehicle
fuels excise tax) to the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts.
In Fiscal Year 1998, Highway Fund distributions will equal Fiscal
Year 1997 distributions.
NON-CHERRY SHEET LOCAL AID
The Weld/Cellucci Administration pursues a comprehensive local
aid policy to ensure the fiscal autonomy and stability of each
city and town in the Commonwealth. To that end, state agencies
administer several local aid programs that provide either programmatic
assistance or direct monetary aid to cities and towns. While these
programs do not appear on the Cherry Sheet, they are an important
part of the Administration's effort to support the delivery of
quality local services. In Fiscal Year 1998, the Administration
is increasing its commitment to local aid by increasing funding
for education, the Judiciary, the District Attorneys, public safety,
and water and sewer rate relief.
Education funding, in addition to Chapter 70 aid, will increase
by over $55 million in Fiscal Year 1998. The Department of Education
will consolidate eleven programs into four block grants. The block
grants represent $89.6 million of funding for after-school programs,
safe schools, school-linked services, high achievement, drop-out
prevention, early education, and head start programs that will
be distributed to cities, towns, school districts, charter schools,
and regional school districts.
The Weld/Cellucci Administration will undertake several important
education expansion initiatives in Fiscal Year 1998. The Administration
is recommending an additional $15.7 million in early education
funding. This will increase funding for that program to more than
$50 million, a 46% increase over Fiscal Year 1997. This funding
will support programs that prepare three and four year olds to
enter kindergarten. The Administration is also recommending $3
million to fund a school-to-work matching grant program, representing
an increase of more than 100% over Fiscal Year 1997. These grants
will support programs that assist high-school graduates to make
the transition from school to work. In addition to these programs,
the Administration will expand funding for teen day care vouchers,
student and school assessments, education technology, emergency
food assistance programs, early intervention, and high achievement
Continuing the Weld/Cellucci Administration's strong commitment
to law enforcement, the Fiscal Year 1998 recommended Local Aid
funding for the Judiciary, District Attorneys, and public safety
will increase by $24.4 million over Fiscal Year 1997. This includes
$15.4 million of increased funding for the judicial system and
$3.7 million of increased funding for the prosecution of crime
by District Attorneys. The Administration's Fiscal Year 1998 funding
recommendation will increase Local Aid funding to the Executive
Office of Public Safety by $5.3 million to fund Community Policing
initiatives, which help defray the costs of safeguarding our communities,
and to fund the Sex Offender Registry.
MWRA Rate Relief
In Fiscal Year 1997, residents served by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) benefited from $46.8 million in state assistance, which served to reduce rate increases in their communities. This rate relief funding was $7 million more than provided in Fiscal Year 1996. In Fiscal Year 1998, the Administration recommends increasing funding for MWRA rate relief to $50.3 million, an increase of $3.5 million over the Fiscal Year 1997 level.