July 25 2019

What the State Budget Has for Burlington

By: BNEWS

The long-awaited state budget has been approved by both legislative chambers and Burlington’s representatives in the State House are highlighting funds that will benefit the town. 

“Representative Ken Gordon (D-Bedford) and Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) recently joined their colleagues in passing a Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) conference committee budget, making investments in education, healthcare, mental health and substance use disorder services, housing, and local aid,” a joint release from their offices reads. “This $43.1 billion budget includes several key investments to support programs and services to benefit the Town of Burlington.”  

 

Consistent with the General Court’s long-standing commitment to supporting increased investments in education, this budget makes a significant down payment on the work of the Foundation Budget Review Commission (FBRC), and funds Chapter 70 at its highest level ever, providing  $5.17 billion in education funding, a $268 million increase for investments in schools over FY19, the release states. Burlington school districts will receive $6,851,477 under this budget, an increase of $333,543 over FY19. 

In addition, the budget increases Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) by nearly $30 million, allocating $2,780,883 to support community investments in education, health care, public safety and roads and bridges for the Town of Burlington, the release states. The local aid reflects an increase of $73,110 over FY19.

 

“Both Gordon and Friedman worked hard to ensure that the FY20 budget includes $125,000 for the much-needed Lowell-to-Burlington restaurant shuttle that will benefit the town’s residents and businesses while helping reduce traffic on area roads,” the release says.  

 

The program will operate through the Middlesex 3 Transportation Management Association. Those who work on weekends or late at night will be picked up in Lowell and transported to Burlington so that they can get to work on time. Riders will be able to access transportation back home again, even in instances where a sick child or other emergency may require them to return home in the middle of a work shift.

 

“Transportation for workers to and from Burlington is critical for businesses trying to stay afloat,” said Gordon. “Especially late at night and on the weekends, our workers cannot use current public transportation options and many of them cannot afford their own cars.  This system will start with funding from the state, but be taken over by the businesses once it is up and running.”

The budget also includes $85,000 to support Food Link, an organization that delivers nutritious food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, milk and eggs, to over 30 social services that serve low-income individuals in need. Many of the populations that Food Link serves – including at-risk youth, low-income families, seniors, and the homeless – do not have access to healthy food on a regular basis. These funds will help fight food insecurity in Burlington and surrounding communities. 

 

“The budget reflects the legislature’s strong commitment to increasing access to quality, affordable health care, ensuring that every student has the opportunity to receive a good education, and expanding access to behavioral health services,” said Friedman. “Moreover, as our state continues to grapple with the opioid crisis, I’m especially proud that this budget makes strong investments in mental health treatment and harm reduction initiatives to ensure more resources for families and their loved ones.”

 

Having passed the House and Senate, the legislation now moves to the Governor’s desk. He has 10 days to review the budget and issue any vetoes.


 

 
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