MTA President Merrie Najimy said today that the just-released fiscal 2021 House budget proposal “builds on the governor’s plan by maintaining funding for preK-12 and public higher education for the remainder of the fiscal year.”
Najimy added, “We are pleased that the House responded to the loud call of our members and their students in public colleges and universities to level-fund public higher education, which has been under a lot of financial strain in coping with COVID-19.
“Campus executives have justified mass furloughs and layoffs because of their false expectation that the Legislature would impose large budget cuts,” she added. “We are pleased that the House chose to maintain funding for our public campuses. We expect campus executives to respond by stopping further furloughs and layoffs – and by rolling back the ones currently in effect.”
"In order to fulfill the promise of the Student Opportunity Act, increase funding for public higher education and sustain the services that families rely on, new revenues will be needed in the very near future.”MTA President Merrie Najimy
The MTA also supports the House budget’s addition of $80 million for educational support programs, including a new $50 million COVID-19 student support fund to be targeted for low-income students.
While calling the House budget “good news,” Najimy said that more revenues will be needed to sustain and improve public education funding.
“This budget maintains education and other essential spending by relying heavily on the state’s ‘rainy day fund,’” Najimy said. “This is an appropriate use of those funds in light of the dislocations caused by the coronavirus pandemic. However, in order to fulfill the promise of the Student Opportunity Act, increase funding for public higher education and sustain the services that families rely on, new revenues will be needed in the very near future.”
The House proposal does not include any new taxes, though it does delay one tax cut for wealthy individuals that was scheduled to go into effect and would have made the budget situation worse. The MTA and other members of the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition are continuing to advocate for new taxes on profitable corporations and wealthy investors, many of whom have made record financial gains during the coronavirus pandemic.