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House increases schools funding and preserves 85/15 insurance split

On April 28, the House passed its version of FY07 budget.

The initial budget released by the House Ways and Means Committee had only increased funding over FY06 for Chapter 70 -- state funding for cities and towns for their schools -- by $91 million, just a little over what was needed to account for inflation and enrollment changes. Before the budget went to the floor, MTA worked with legislators to draft amendments to increase funding. 

The major amendments lobbied by MTA were adopted by the House. These amendments increased Chapter 70 by $82 million. This is $9.5 million over the governor's House 2 proposal. Nearly all cities and towns received an increase over what had been proposed in House 2.

In another victory,  the House rejected the Ways and Means proposal to raise the health insurance premiums for state employees hired before July 1, 2003, and making more than $40,000 from 15 percent to 20 percent.  Rep. Marty Walsh (D-Boston) offered an amendment to keep the cost for employees hired before July 1, 2003, at 15 percent -- keeping the status quo. Employees hired after July 1, 2003, will pay 20 percent, which is current law.