BOSTON – Representative Garrett Bradley (D-Hingham) joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives in passing the House FY17 budget on Wednesday, April 27, 2016. The vote was unanimous, 156-0.
As a result of an amendment filed by Rep. Bradley during the budget debate, Hingham is to receive $90,000 to be spent on additional safety upgrades for town schools. This award comes on the heels of previous school safety and security monies Hingham has received over the past 3 fiscal years.
The spending bill, approximately $39.5 billion, highlights the House’s ongoing commitment to balancing fiscal prudence with targeted social service investments, a practice that has resulted in Massachusetts retaining its AA+ bond rating, the highest in the state’s history. The budget includes no new taxes or fees and reduces the Commonwealth’s reliance on one-time revenue sources. For the second year in a row, it does not withdraw any funds from the stabilization fund.
"I thank my colleagues in the House for agreeing to include these much needed monies in the FY 2017 budget,” said Representative Garrett Bradley. “They strike the right balance between maintaining fiscal responsibility and protecting the funding for the programs and services that our constituents need. School safety, local aid, Chapter 70 education monies, special education, substance abuse and homelessness are just a few of the issues my constituents and people throughout the Commonwealth consider priorities."
With increases in both local education funding and Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA), this budget raises local aid by $159 million from FY16. It provides $55 in per-pupil-aid, more than doubling last year’s expenditure, and fully funds the Special Education Circuit Breaker.
Recognizing the immense impact that high-quality early education and care has on the lives of our residents – both children and adults – the budget makes targeted investments to support the EEC workforce while expanding access to high-quality programming. Investments include a $15 million rate reserve, continued support for expanding pre-kindergarten opportunities and $2M to ensure access to quality EEC programming.
The budget also provides $18.6 million for Kindergarten Expansion Grants.
For the fifth year in a row, the budget increases funding for community colleges, state universities and UMass. It also provides:
- $96.6 million for a state scholarship program which benefits Massachusetts residents attending both private and public colleges;
- $4.75 million for the STEM Starter Academy, a House-created initiative for community college students which has shown notable early success;
- $1.7 million to support inclusive higher education learning opportunities for students with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 22 years.
Recognizing that education and economic development are intrinsically paired, the budget enhances the House’s focus on bolstering job opportunities for residents of all skillsets in diverse regions of the Commonwealth through programs including:
- Invests $2 million in the Big Data Innovation and Workforce Fund, to promote the big data and analytics industries, provide tools for related career development and explore how analytics can help address problems of public concern;
- MassCAN: $1.7 million to establish and enhance widespread, progressive computer science curriculum in public school through a public-private matching program;
- Talent Pipeline: $1.5 million to encourage young innovators to get a head start on their futures by matching stipends for interns at innovation start-ups, and to provide mentoring opportunities for new entrepreneurs;
- Continues to fund the Massachusetts Manufacturing Partnership, a program that continues to show results in closing the skills gap, and provides $1.5 million for the precision manufacturing workforce development fund.