Jun 29
BOSTON—State Representative John W. Scibak (D-South Hadley) joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in passing a $32.5 billion operating budget that targets aid to cities and towns and provides additional funding for education, school and regional transportation, public housing, environmental protection and health and human service initiatives.  The budget addresses Massachusetts’ fiscal challenges by investing in initiatives that will grow the economy, provide for the operation of state programs and services, and care for those most in need. The budget includes local aid funding at $899 million for FY 13 and is not reliant on any surplus or one time funds.  Chapter 70 education spending grew $180 million to $4.2 billion a growth of 5.3% over the FY 12 General Appropriations Act.  A new fund was also created for Homeless Student School Transportation at $11.3 million while Regional Transit Authorities received a $3.5 million increase over last year’s budget. “I commend the conference committee, the committees on Ways and Means members and staff, and all of my colleagues in the House for their tireless efforts in producing a balanced, fiscally-sound budget for fiscal year ’13,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said. “This budget not only preserves essential services and aids municipalities, but also strengthens our community colleges and reforms our EBT system. Although we still face tough fiscal times, this budget maximizes the value of every last state dollar and strives to implement sensible reforms that will position Massachusetts for a bright economic future.” “I congratulate Speaker DeLeo and House Ways & Means Chairman Brian Dempsey on delivering this budget to the people of Massachusetts,” Said Representative Scibak. The House has managed to create a budget that reflects the unique needs of our state, while laying the groundwork for future economic advancements. Although many parts of the country are still struggling to emerge from this recession, Massachusetts is a prime example of the kind of recovery that can take place when elected officials work in unison to address the critical needs affecting their states.” Through the work of Rep. Scibak and other Members of the House, the budget increases spending on the judiciary by 7.2 percent, to $760 million, with the Trial Court receiving a 7.9 percent spending bump. Spending on the state's environmental agencies rose $20 million under the budget. The budget also allows forthcoming gaming licensing fees to assist community colleges in providing for the workforce demands of the Commonwealth. In addition to funding important programs throughout Massachusetts, Rep. Scibak also secured important funding for the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program which serves not only the 2nd Hampshire District, but several areas in Massachusetts.