April 21st 2015 Boston – Representative Muradian (R-Grafton) has secured $1,025,000 in the Fiscal Year 2016 state budget to fund important local initiatives for the 9th Worcester District.
The funding, one million dollars of which will go towards Tuft Medical School’s annual line item and $25,000 to the Town of Upton to assist them with constructing a new salt shed, was included in the House version of the budget which was approved on a unanimous vote of 158-0 on April 29. Other provisions that Rep. Muradian supported were included in the budget as well, such as a provision that would reinstate the Kindergarten expansion grants and another provision supporting Mass Mentoring.
The $38.05 billion House budget includes a significant increase in local aid for cities and towns. A total of $4.5 billion has been allocated for Chapter 70 educational aid, which will provide for a statewide increase to $25 per pupil. Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA), which helps to fund many essential municipal programs and services, was increased by $35 million.
The towns of Grafton, Northbridge and Upton will also receive a bit of an increase in local education aid. Grafton will receive $10,650,490 in Chapter 70 aid under the House budget plan, along with $1,441,388 in UGGA and Northbridge will receive $15,275,081 under Ch. 70 and $1,945,911 under UGGA. The Mendon- Upton school district will receive $ $12,131,581 from Ch. 70 and the Town of Upton will receive $19,248 from Ch. 70 and $490,809 from UGGA. The House budget includes a 10 percent increase in regional school transportation, and fully funds special education aid for local school districts.
The House budget also includes many important transportation reforms designed to promote fiscal integrity and service reliability at the MBTA, including language enhancing the Inspector General’s internal special audit unit’s ability to investigate and prevent fraud, waste and abuse in the expenditure of public or private transportation funds. In addition to authorizing a five-year moratorium on the Pacheco Law for all MBTA contracts to make it easier to pursue potential cost-savings, the budget also expands the MassDOT board from 7 to 11 members and specifies that these members will serve co-terminously with the Governor.
“This budget is very fiscally responsible and balanced and goes a long way toward helping our communities. There are no new taxes and for the first time in eight years, we are not drawing from the State Stabilization Fund,” stated Rep. Muradian. “Even though this was a tough economic year, I am impressed with the collegiality of this body, which is apparent by our unanimous vote. This budget is a true testament to the House of Representatives’ hard work toward compromise and understanding as well as the Governor’s leadership.”
The budget now moves to the Senate, which is expected to release and debate its own version prior to Memorial Day.