MTA chief calls Baker budget troubling
Hints at need for new taxes
GOV. CHARLIE BAKER’S proposed budget is troubling for its lack of vision and absence of meaningful investments in education and other vital community services. Although some of the governor’s ideas appear positive, his budget is ultimately a proposal that shortchanges students, families, and our cities and towns by including cuts to kindergarten expansion programs and providing inadequate funding for our public schools, colleges, and universities.
While keeping school districts at foundation levels, as is constitutionally required, Gov. Baker’s proposed spending plan fails to address the fact that many of our communities already face significant shortfalls in the resources they need to provide children with the schools they deserve. Public education is the center of our democracy and the heart of our future, and the Commonwealth’s spending priorities must recognize that.
Where the Quality Full-Day Kindergarten Grant program is concerned, for example, Gov. Baker is eliminating funding. This step would hinder expansion of full-day kindergarten programs and cause some districts to reduce access.
The MTA is also deeply concerned about other grant cuts that appear to target education programs in urban communities. The consolidation of numerous programs into an account called the “Partnership Schools Network” is disturbing and potentially very harmful to our public schools and students.
The time has come for Massachusetts to turn the corner and look toward the revenues required to help working families and the communities they live in. Over time, the Commonwealth has implemented billions of dollars in tax cuts. In addition, we live in a state where residents with the highest incomes pay the smallest share of their incomes in state taxes.Every budget represents choices, and the plan outlined today does not include the right ones for our students, families, or communities.
Barbara Madeloni is president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association.