BOSTON – Representative Paul K. Frost (R-Auburn) announces the House version of the Fiscal Year 2020 State Budget was debated and voted on the week of April 22. The House debated the budget and offered amendments to it over the course of four days before it was voted on and passed Thursday, April 25, 2019. Frost voted for the House version of the State Budget.
Frost is also pleased to announce an increase in local aid for the Town of Auburn in the House of Representatives’ Fiscal Year 2020 budget bill. Auburn under the House Budget would receive $11,851,108 in Chapter 70 funding for education, which is an increase of $784,149 over Fiscal Year 2019, and $1,818,556 in Unrestricted General Government Aid, an increase of $47,810.
Frost was successful in having two amendments for Auburn included in the House Budget during the debate: $10,000 for Auburn Youth and Family Services programs and $15,000 for the purchasing and installation of AED devices and housing at athletic fields, playgrounds, and town facilities and buildings in the Town of Auburn which would help the town and school department in their ongoing efforts to expand access to them.
Representative Frost commented, “This State Budget has provided more for local aid and education than the previous fiscal year. I’ve always said state aid for municipal services and local education are priorities of mine. The government services the vast majority of our citizens count on and use each and every day are those provided by their local community. I’m glad this House version of the State Budget provided more resources in other areas such as for our Veterans, Senior Citizens, Schools and open space preservation. ”
Other highlights of the House spending plan include:
• $328.8 million for the Special Education Circuit Breaker, a $9.5 million increase over current spending;
• an $85,000 appropriation for the NEADS Assistance Dogs for Veterans program to train service dogs for veterans;
• language directing the State Comptroller to transfer up to $10 million in net surplus funding the Massachusetts Community Preservation Trust Fund to assist cities and towns with their open space, affordable housing, and historic preservation efforts;
• a provision to increase the Conservation Land Tax Credit’s annual cap from $2 million to $5 million over a three-year period to encourage the permanent protection of conservation land;
• $17.9 million in funding for local Councils on Aging;
• a $35 million supplemental rate increase for nursing homes; and
• a $500,000 increase for the Healthy Incentives Program, which provides funding assistance to help low-income residents purchase fresh produce from local farmers, bringing the program’s total appropriation to $4.5 million.
The budget process now moves to the State Senate, which will debate its own bill for FY 2020 in May. A conference committee will then work out the differences between the two versions before a final compromised budget is voted on and sent to the Governor’s desk, hopefully before the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.