Massachusetts lawmakers making education funding a top priority

Lawmakers crafted the budget with concerns about the uncertainty of health care bill

BOSTON (WWLP) – Massachusetts lawmakers are investing more in your child’s education as they distribute funds for the next fiscal year. The House Budget Committee unveiled a $40.3-billion spending proposal, one that increases local aid and education funding.

State Representative Stephen Kulik, (D) Worthington, told 22News, “We now understand how critical a good foundation in early education and care is to giving people a good start in life.”

The Committee budgeted $164-million in new funding both in local aid and Chapter 70, which provides cities and towns with aid for public elementary and secondary schools. If passed, cities like Chicopee could receive more than $62-million in education funding and $11-million in local aid.

Lawmakers crafted the budget with concerns about the uncertainty of health care bill in Washington, D.C. They said cuts in federal funding to the state could force lawmakers to cut funding to your community.

State Representative Kulik said, “There’s no way we could come up with the money that would be taken away by the federal government, which means we’d have to make cuts in other significant areas of the budget and that could be education or local aid.”

The Congressional republican health care bill would cut off funding in 2020 to states, like Massachusetts, that expanded Medicaid coverage. Although it failed to get enough support, they could make a second attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

State Representative Todd Smola, (R) Palmer, said, “We lead the way in Massachusetts by passing universal health care coverage a number of years ago. No other state does it like the state of Massachusetts does it, so any change on the federal level is going to be extremely important as it trickles down to the Commonwealth.”

The budget now moves onto the House for debate.