January 25, 2017: Governor Baker released his proposed FY18 budget which totaled $40.5 Billion and boosts state spending by $1.655 Billion while also calling for reforms to the health insurance market and tax policy changes. This is the first budget in state history to exceed the $40 billion mark and relies on a forecast of $27 billion in tax collections next year and an additional $187 million in taxes via a series of tax modernization proposals.
The Baker-Polito Administration budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18), is known as “House 1.”
The Governor's Budget Message
Here are several items of interest to ACEC/MA Members.
The FY17 House 2 proposal supports the ongoing needs of both the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the MBTA. The proposed funding levels, coupled with substantial capital investments, will support the important work of both MassDOT and the MBTA as we continue to invest in transportation to support economic development, prosperous cities and towns and the quality of life for the Commonwealth’s residents, workers, and visitors.
As requested by the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB), the FY17 House 2 proposal includes $187 million in additional contract assistance to the MBTA, an amount which was increased by over $64 million (53%) in the first Baker-Polito budget in FY16. This amount is on top of the statutorily-required Base Revenue Amount that is automatically provided to the MBTA from sales tax and other general revenue, which increases to $1.001 billion in FY17.
The FMCB is hard at work implementing a combination of internal cost controls, increases in own-source revenue, strategic privatization, carefully considered changes to high-cost low-ridership services and predictable and moderate fare increases to close the MBTA’s structural operating deficit. The proposed additional contract assistance of $187 million – which brings total state assistance to the MBTA to nearly $1.2 billion annually – should be viewed as a resource that will allow the MBTA to increase spending on maintenance, State of Good Repair, and other capital needs. The FY17 House 2 proposal limits the use of these funds to a variety of capital-related needs, including repayment of so-called “legacy debt”, the movement of costs from the capital to operating budget, pay-as-you-go capital programs, and debt service for new MBTA borrowing for the purposes of improving the system's State of Good Repair.
Commonwealth Facility Trust for Energy Efficiency
SECTION 10. Chapter 10 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after Section 35DDD the following section:-
Section 35EEE. There shall be established and set up on the books of the commonwealth a separate expendable trust, to be known as the Commonwealth Facility Trust for Energy Efficiency, hereinafter in this section referred to as the trust. There shall be credited to the trust (i) an initial $500,000 transfer from the existing Energy Credit, Efficiency and Sustainable Design Trust Fund previously established by a declaration by the secretary of the executive office of administration and finance executed March 21, 2006 and most recently amended and restated on March 1, 2011; (ii) amounts paid by agencies having completed energy and/or water efficiency projects funded at least in part by monies disbursed from the trust; (iii) any monies received by the commonwealth from persons or governmental, quasi-governmental or non-governmental entities as rebates, credits, securities, grants, or the like as a result of enhancing energy efficiency and utilizing renewable energy applications in facility projects funded at least in part by monies disbursed from the trust; and (iv) any appropriations, bond proceeds, or other monies authorized by the general court and specifically designated to be credited thereto. The comptroller shall disburse amounts in the trust at the direction of the secretary of administration and finance, in consultation with the commissioner of the division of capital asset management and maintenance, without further appropriation, for the purpose of funding certain small and medium energy and water efficiency projects at state facilities identified by the division of capital asset management and maintenance. The secretary of administration and finance or the commissioner of the division of capital asset management and maintenance may require agencies to agree to repayment terms, including without limitation payment of administrative fees, as a condition of receipt of monies from the trust. All monies received from non-governmental parties by the division of capital asset management and maintenance under this section shall be by check made payable to the commonwealth of Massachusetts and deposited in the trust by the division of capital asset management and maintenance. Amounts credited to the trust shall not be subject to further appropriation. Money remaining in the trust at the close of a fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund and shall be available for expenditure in subsequent fiscal years.
Room Occupancy Tax Changes 1
SECTION 36. Chapter 64G of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out sections 1 to 12, inclusive, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following 11 sections:-
Section 1. As used in this chapter the following words shall, unless the context requires otherwise, have the following meanings:
(a) ''Bed and breakfast establishment'', a private owner-occupied house where 4 or more rooms or units are let and a breakfast is included in the rent, and all accommodations are reserved in advance.
(b) ''Bed and breakfast home'', a private owner-occupied house where 3 or fewer rooms or units are let and a breakfast is included in the rent, and all accommodations are reserved in advance.