This was my email this afternoon to Senator Timilty to support the MMA’s analysis of where the state budget discussions that are happening this week in the State Senate should lead:
As a Town of Medfield selectman, I ask that you support the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s stated interests in the budget discussions. Thanks in advance. I have copied in below the MMA’s stated interests:
Monday May 23, 2016
SENATORS SET TO DEBATE FISCAL 2017 BUDGET
DEBATE WILL BEGIN ON TUESDAY, MAY 24
1,167 AMENDMENTS FILED
PLEASE CALL YOUR SENATORS TODAY TO SUPPORT KEY FUNDING
ASK YOUR SENATORS TO OPPOSE AMENDMENT 91, WHICH WOULD TO LIMIT MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY ON RETIREE HEALTH INSURANCE
Beginning on Tuesday, May 24, the Senate will debate the Senate Ways & Means Committee’s proposed fiscal 2017 state budget plan. With 1,167 amendments filed, it is critically important for you to call your Senators now to discuss key budget and funding issues that will impact your community.
S. 4, the Senate Ways & Means budget, provides progress on many important local aid priorities, including the full $42 million increase in Unrestricted General Government Aid that the Governor and House have agreed on. The SW&M Committee would increase funding for several major aid programs, by adding $9.3 million to the Special Education Circuit Breaker, increasing Chapter 70 minimum aid to $55 per student, and by adding funds in the Chapter 70 distribution to help address the low-income student calculation and to accelerate implementation of the so-called target share provisions in Chapter 70.
However, the proposed Senate budget would also cut nearly 90% from kindergarten development grants, cutting $16.6 million from key kindergarten grant assistance that goes to 164 cities, towns and school districts. There are several amendments to restore these funds.
Another issue is the need to defeat a harmful amendment (Amendment #91), which would interfere with local officials’ decision-making authority to act on behalf of taxpayers on the basic issue of contribution levels for retiree health insurance. Amendment 91 would extend a state-mandated freeze on adjusting retiree health contributions in any community that has used the municipal health insurance reform law to implement health insurance savings measures. Details on this issue are available in the MMA’s budget letter to Senators – just click on the link below.
There are many budget amendments to discuss with your Senators, including:
• Increasing Chapter 70 minimum aid up to $100 per student;
• Restoring $16.6 million to Kindergarten Development Grants;
• Increasing funding for Charter School Reimbursements;
• Creating a reserve account to help with extraordinary Special Education Costs;
• Increasing reimbursements for the McKinney-Vento unfunded mandate;
• Increasing reimbursements for Regional School Transportation and Out-of-District Vocational School Transportation;
• Opposing Amendment 91, which would interfere with local decisions on retiree health insurance;
• Adding a municipal seat on the State Retiree Benefits Trust Fund;
• Increasing funding for the Shannon Anti-Gang grant program;
• Increasing funding for the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative;
• Increasing funding for Summer Jobs for At-Risk Youth;
• Banning “Pay the Patient” in ambulance insurance payments;
• Supporting Chapter 40S payments for communities with Smart Growth Districts;
• Adding funds for Brownfield redevelopments;
• Allowing communities to levy fines for delays in removing double poles; and
• Increasing the state match for the CPA program.
Please Call Your Senators Today Discuss the Key Budget Issues that Impact Your Community
Click the Link Above to Read the MMA’s Detailed Letter to Senators