Surging Massachusetts Tax Revenues Prompt Calls for More Local Aid

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By Colin Young
State House News Service

Municipal officials are pleased with some of the Massachusetts House budget’s local and education aid provisions, but they have also noticed the recent trend of strong state tax collections and are hoping the Legislature will take advantage of the cash surge to further increase local aid.

Administration and Finance Secretary Michael Heffernan told the Local Government Advisory Committee on Wednesday that state tax collections through March were $2.184 billion ahead of expectations with three months left in fiscal year 2022. The town manager for Sandwich told Heffernan that local officials are very happy about the state’s good fortune.

“And we’re very optimistic that this will prompt the Legislature to build on the increase in unrestricted general government aid,” George “Bud” Dunham said, referring to the fiscal year 2023 House budget plan that calls for about $1.2 billion in so-called UGGA, an increase of about $31 million over the current year’s budget.

The House budget, which is due to be debated by representatives next week, also increases the minimum per-student school aid amount from $30 to $60 and accelerates by one year the charter school reimbursement process. Dunham said Wednesday that the increase in minimum per-pupil aid “has a significant impact positively on the 136 school districts that are minimum aid districts like Sandwich.”

And the charter school reimbursement section, he said, will “help offset the extraordinary costs of sending students to charter school.” Sandwich paid a little more than $3.9 million to send students to charter schools in fiscal year 2022 and the town was reimbursed $250,000, Dunham said.

“So this trend has existed for over 17 years and if you do the math, Sandwich has lost more than $15 million in reimbursements over that period,” Dunham said. “So while those losses can never be recouped, we’re very grateful to see that the charter reimbursement amounts have more than doubled for FY 23.”


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