Balanced FY ’13 Budget passed by House
No New Taxes; Funds Local Aid, Community Colleges
(BOSTON) – State Representative Carlo P. Basile joined his
colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives last week
in passing a balanced FY ’13 budget aimed at increasing government
efficiency, cutting costs and preserving essential services across
The budget, which passed with bipartisan support, closes a
projected $790 million budget gap through cuts and adjustments to
state spending, one-time revenues, and a $400 million withdrawal
from the Rainy Day fund.
The budget for fiscal year ’13 once again shows the House’s
commitment to the citizens of Massachusetts by including no new
taxes or fees. Conversely, the House budget makes a significant
investment in Local Aid to help lessen the burden of the recession
on municipalities. Thanks to such sound fiscal management, Standard
and Poor’s increased Massachusetts’ bond rating from AA to AA+.
“The House budget for fiscal year ’13 maximizes the value of every
last state dollar and strives to implement sensible reforms to
position Massachusetts for a bright economic future,” said House
Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “Although we are still challenged by this
downturn, we’ve produced a budget that preserves essential services,
aids municipalities, strengthens our community colleges and reforms
the use of our EBT system so that it serves the most in need.”
“By passing this budget the House has made clear that despite the
continued pressure on our financial resources, our commitment to our
partners in municipal government and the people of Massachusetts is
a responsibility that must continue to be prioritized,” said House
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Brian Dempsey. “This budget
contains $899M in unrestricted local aid for cities and towns, $168M
in new support for every school district in the State, and a new
$11.3M source of support for municipalities transporting homeless
In addition to local aid, I am proud of the commitment the House
has made to support the programs that millions of people and
businesses rely on every day, and that it was done without shifting
the burden of balancing the budget onto the shoulders of the people
and businesses of the Commonwealth through any type of new fees or
“With the work of my colleagues in the House, this new budget
will help to create more jobs and cut out wasteful spending,” Carlo
P. Basile (D – East Boston), Vice Chairman, Financial Services,
said. “While preserving important services like elder home care, the
new budget will allow us to make our state government more efficient
in its operations and spending thereby maximizing our investments.”
This budget fully funds the Unrestricted General Government Aid
that municipalities rely on to balance their budgets each fiscal
year. It includes an additional $65M that was sent out last year in
the form of a supplemental budget, essentially guaranteeing that
money for municipalities up front.
The House budget also places a high priority on education funding
by increasing Chapter 70, special education circuit breaker,
McKinney-Vento, and regional transportation funding.
This budget guarantees all municipal, vocational and regional
school districts an increase over Fiscal Year 2012 Chapter 70
funding for a total increase of $164M. It will assist districts in
meeting their special education obligations by funding circuit
breaker at $221.5M and for the first time, the House has
appropriated funds to offset the expense of the federal mandate
(McKinney-Vento) requiring communities to incur the costs of
transporting their homeless student population.
Furthermore, the House was able to prioritize regional school
transportation, funding it at $45.4M.
In an effort to create jobs and help cities and towns, the House
budget strengthens the Community Preservation Act, a law passed in
2000 that allows Massachusetts cities and towns to establish a fund
to support local needs. Over the past decade, the CPA has promoted
cost savings and job creation. By increasing the funding available
for the statewide CPA Trust Fund in this year’s budget, the House
will provide more local aid and support for local jobs. This
legislation diversifies the allowable funding sources that cities
and towns can use to fund their local CPA fund. And it will support
the small businesses in our state by allowing municipalities to
exempt commercial and industrial properties from a portion of the
CPA local surcharge.
This budget also places the Commonwealth’s community colleges in
the best position possible to respond to the changing needs of
Massachusetts and its residents, particularly in workforce
development and continued higher education.
The House budget includes increased coordination among the 15
separate community colleges and the Board of Higher Education in
order to provide flexibility to adapt to new opportunities for the
Commonwealth. This is accomplished while still retaining the local
involvement in the administration of the schools that has been a
critical part of the success of the community colleges.
In a demonstration of the House’s commitment to serving elders and
the disabled, this budget preserves programs such as elder nutrition
enhanced home care services and elder protective services.
Recognizing the high cost of our home services, this budget
increases in-home supports for families of the developmentally
disabled and makes investments in the areas of transportation and
Turning 22. These significant investments ensure there will be a
continuum of services to these populations.
Finally, the House seeks efficiencies and re-procurements in many
areas of state government, such as Mass Health and the Department of
Corrections, in order to achieve savings and maximize our
investments. In addition, the budget provides the tools needed to
seek out fraud, waste and abuse in state funded programs. The budget
includes a provision banning any individual from knowingly using,
transferring, acquiring, altering or possessing an electronic
benefit transfer card or access device in any manner not authorized
by federal or state law.