House Ways and Means Committee releases $36.2 billion budget proposal

The fiscal 2015 state budget proposed on April 9 by the House Ways and Means Committee bolsters support for students and public education at all levels, with increases over current spending similar to those proposed by Governor Deval Patrick in January.

“The House followed through with a commitment to increase Chapter 70 funding by $100 million for K-12 public schools, which will keep them at their required foundation level,” said MTA President Paul Toner. “That is a promising sign.

“Moreover, the budget proposed by the Ways and Means Committee is slightly better for higher education than the governor’s proposal,” Toner continued. “Our hope is that the Legislature will ensure another year of tuition and fee freezes at our colleges and universities, which would contribute to access and affordability for students.”

The House proposal totals $36.2 billion, compared to Patrick's $36.4 billion plan.

Compared to current spending, the House package includes a 2.3 percent increase over current spending in Chapter 70 education funds for K-12 schools, a 5.7 percent rise in higher education spending and a 5.2 percent increase in early education and care.

“These increases in spending keep our public education system on the right track but do not fully address all of the needs of Massachusetts students,” Toner said. “The MTA will continue advocating for the full range of resources needed to help every student succeed.”

The House is expected to debate the budget proposal later this month. Following House action, the Senate Ways and Means Committee will release its own version of the budget.

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