BOSTON– A $34 billion Fiscal Year 2014 budget has been passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Patrick, along with a $500 million transportation finance bill that will help solve the immediate challenge of the structural budget gap in the state’s transportation system.
“After months of work, I am pleased that the Legislature worked together to craft a state budget that includes the greatest increases to critical programs since the FY09 budget, in large part due to our improving economy and the new revenues in the transportation finance bill,” said Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton). “I’m pleased to see increases in the budget that include our K-12 education system, human services, housing, higher education and transportation.”
The FY14 budget represents the Legislature’s continuing commitment to cities and towns and makes increases in Unrestricted General Government Aid, Chapter 70 education aid and the Special Education Circuit Breaker – the three largest sources of direct state aid to municipalities and school districts.
Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) received its first increase since FY10 at $920.2 million, increasing $21.3 million above current FY2013 levels. Chapter 70 education aid increased 3 percent above current FY2013 levels to $4.31 billion. The FY2014 budget also provides full funding as well as $51.5 million for Regional School Transportation.
The FY14 budget was approved before the transportation finance bill was adopted and the Governor vetoed several items which would have left the budget unbalanced, including UGGA funds. The Legislature voted to override the vetoes and approve these critical funds.
The Legislature also passed An Act Relative to Transportation Finance, which raises an average of $500 million a year in new revenues and dedicates an average of $600 million a year to transportation over five years for much needed improvements to our state’s transportation infrastructure. The funding includes road and bridge maintenance and expansion projects for regional transit authorities, commuter rail service and rail trails.
“I was a strong advocate for Governor Patrick’s visionary proposal to invest in transportation and education, as well as An Act to Invest in Our Communities, a progressive tax proposal that would have reduced the tax burden on working families,” said Senator Eldridge. “When the majority of legislators would not support this, I led efforts to increase the transportation finance bill to secure greater investments in transportation and the general budget. I look forward to future discussions about reforming our tax system, including closing corporate tax loopholes and making sure the wealthy pay their fair share.”