Baker-Polito Administration Proposes Increased Local Aid, Historic Education Funding
Municipalities to benefit from 100% of revenue growth, new Community Compact technology investments
BOSTON – Speaking at the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s (MMA) Annual Meeting the day following his State of the Commonwealth address, Governor Charlie Baker announced unrestricted local aid will increase by 100% of tax revenue growth in the Baker-Polito Administration’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget proposal, amounting to over $42 million. Governor Baker also announced that next week’s budget proposal will include a $72.1 million increase for Chapter 70 local education funding and a $2 million competitive Community Compact Information Technology (IT) capital grant program to drive innovation and efficiency through local technology improvements.
“Lt. Governor Polito and I are proud to follow through on our commitment to ensure that the Commonwealth’s cities and towns are benefitting from the grassroots economic growth driven by our communities,” said Governor Baker. “These investments are key to continue building stronger, safer communities for our families and ensuring schools across the Commonwealth are able to prepare our children for success.”
Since Governor Baker announced the Community Compact Cabinet at last year’s MMA meeting, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito has served as a champion for the administration’s municipal partnerships, entering into 114 Community Compacts that represent over 380 community-crafted, mutual best practices aimed at improving local fiscal policies, sustainable energy practices and advancing economic development and affordable housing.
“Over the last year, we have built a strong partnership with our cities and towns serving our mutual constituents on the front lines every day,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “Our collaboration, this increased assistance and the active engagement municipalities have taken to identify and implement best practices through the Community Compact program, will ensure state and local government are working closer than ever to better serve the people of Massachusetts.”
Compact communities also have access to incentives through various state grants and programming, beginning with last year’s round of MassWorks Infrastructure Program applications, and including the $2 million Community Compact IT Grant Program announced today. This competitive grant program funded through the FY 2016 capital budget will make grants of up to $400,000 available to Compact communities to invest in the implementation of innovative IT projects, including technology infrastructure and software or equipment purchases. More information on the program and how Compact Communities can apply will be available at www.mass.gov/ccc.
“We faced a lot of difficult budget decisions over the past year that municipal officials can relate to,” said Kristen Lepore, Secretary of the Executive Office for Administration and Finance. “While the Commonwealth tightened our belts, just like cities and towns do on a regular basis, our commitment to increasing local aid remained a top priority of the Baker-Polito Administration.”
In his first budget proposal for FY 2016, Governor Baker honored a commitment to increase unrestricted local aid by 75% of revenue growth in his first year and this year’s 4.3% increase honors a further commitment to increase local aid by 100% of projected revenue growth. In January, Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristen Lepore and the chairs of the Senate and House Ways and Means Committees announced a consensus projected revenue growth of 4.3%.
In December, the Baker-Polito Administration also filed municipal modernization legislation aimed at improving critical components of the partnership between state and municipal governments by eliminating or updating obsolete laws, promoting local independence, streamlining state oversight and providing municipalities with greater flexibility.