Representative Crocker supports passage of $40.4 billion House budget for Fiscal Year 2018

State Representative Will Crocker, R-Centerville, joined with his colleagues in the House of Representatives this week to approve a $40.4 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2018.  The budget was engrossed on a vote of 159-1 on April 25.

Representative Crocker supports passage of $40.4 billion House budget for Fiscal Year 2018

BOSTON – State Representative Will Crocker, R-Barnstable, joined with his colleagues in the House of Representatives this week to approve a $40.4 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2018.  The budget was engrossed on a vote of 159-1 on April 25.

For the third year in a row, the House budget significantly reduces the use of non-recurring revenue sources to achieve balance, relying on just $110 million in one-time revenues.  It also calls for the deposit of $100 million into the state’s Stabilization Fund, which will bring the account balance to $1.4 billion.

Cities and towns will see a $164 million increase in local aid under the House spending plan.  This represents a 2.7 percent increase over current funding levels.

During the House floor debate, Representative Crocker was able to secure funding for several important local initiatives for Barnstable, including the funding of a funding for the continuation of a homeless outreach coordinator for the town of Barnstable for the purpose of increasing access to resources and services for the homeless population.

“The House budget takes a fiscally responsible approach to spending while reaffirming the state’s commitment to our cities and towns,” said Representative Crocker. “Not only does it increase local aid, but it also takes steps to begin addressing the longstanding concerns associated with unfunded state mandates.”  

Representative Crocker noted that the House budget includes a Republican-sponsored proposal to create a special task force to review all unfunded state education mandates and reporting requirements imposed on local school districts.  The task force will be asked to provide recommendations for easing the cost burden on cities and towns by streamlining, consolidating or eliminating these mandates.

The House budget funds Chapter 70 education aid at $4.734 billion while providing for a guaranteed statewide minimum increase of $30 per pupil.  The proposed Chapter 70 appropriation represents a $106 million increase over current spending levels and is $15 million higher than the Governor’s proposal filed in January.  Unrestricted general government aid, which is made available to communities for a wide range of municipal spending purposes, is increased by $40 million in the House budget to a total of $1.061 billion.

Under the House budget plan, Barnstable will receive $10,011,348 in Chapter 70 education aid and $2,101,329 in unrestricted state aid in Fiscal Year 2018 and Yarmouth $1,216,333 in unrestricted state aid in Fiscal Year 2018

Other significant sources of local aid funding contained in the House budget include:

  • $62 million for regional school transportation reimbursements, which represents a $1 million increase over current funding levels;
  • $281 million for Special Education Circuit Breaker reimbursements, an increase of $4 million over the current year;
  • $12.5 million for the “Pothole” account, which is used to provide extraordinary relief to school districts that experience a substantial shortfall between their Chapter 70 aid and target Chapter 70 aid; and
  • $56,920 in regional bonus aid to assist newly established or expanded regional school districts with up-front costs associated with their transition to a regional district 

The budget now moves to the Senate, which is expected to release its own spending proposal in mid-May.