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MTA President Paul Toner responds to governor’s mid-year budget cuts

Because tax receipts for FY 2013 have been lower than expected, Governor Deval Patrick has announced a series of mid-year spending cuts totaling $225 million, along with plans to use money from existing reserves. These cuts are referred to as 9C cuts after the section of law that enables the governor to make certain budget cuts without legislative approval. Click here to read the announcement the governor’s office released on December 4. According to that statement, “The governor’s proposed plan ensures virtually all impacted programs and services will receive no less funding than last year and that no cuts will be made to Chapter 70 education funding.”

See below for notable cuts in K-12, public higher education and early education and care.

K-12: Cut about 0.5 percent overall.

• Special education circuit breaker: $11.5 million (almost 5 percent).

• Foundation reserve (funds to meet certain district needs not adequately addressed by the Chapter 70 formula): $2.5 million (over 70 percent).

• Transportation of homeless students: $5.2 million (over 45 percent).

• Regional school transportation: $1.0 million (over 2 percent).

• Charter school reimbursement: $1.0 million (almost 1.5 percent).

Higher education: Also cut about 0.5 percent overall. Note that these cuts are to the “central accounts” and do not affect the campus line items or the collective bargaining reserves.

• High-demand scholarship program: $1.2 million (over 35 percent).

• Performance management set-aside (part of the Vision Project initiative): $1.0 million (almost 13 percent).

• Nursing and allied health initiative: $100,000 (20 percent).

• Community College rapid response grants: $1.8 million (over 75 percent).

Early education and care: Cut about 0.1 percent.

In addition to these cuts, the governor is filing a supplemental budget bill seeking an additional $25 million in savings to be achieved by making a 1 percent cut in certain other line items, including unrestricted local aid and funding for public higher education campuses. The Legislature would have to approve this bill for these cuts to be enacted.

Click here for an analysis of all the cuts from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Below is a statement on the cuts issued by MTA President Paul Toner.

“Although we understand the constitutional requirement to balance the state budget, cuts in education spending are always unfortunate, especially when the need is so great to improve early childhood education, close the achievement gap in our schools and provide our students with affordable higher education. Funding for education and other services important to our communities has been tight for many years now. We are asking the Legislature and governor to consider a modest increase in the income tax, primarily for upper-income residents. New revenues are needed to help students in our public schools and public higher education system, both of which are vital to the future economic health of Massachusetts.”

Information on the Campaign for Our Communities revenue plan the MTA supports can be found at ourcommunities.org.