Massachusetts Governor Baker signs belated $52.7 billion state budget | West


BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed a new state budget Thursday, nearly a month into fiscal 2023, which began July 1.

The Republican said the $52.7 billion spending plan would support communities, families, businesses and workers in the state.

Baker vetoed just $475,000 of the budget.

The governor said the spending plan achieves what he called record investments in early childhood education and care, housing and homeownership, college financial aid, economic development and manpower, behavioral health care and community support.

He also said the budget was balanced, did not rely on one-time revenue sources and did not levy any new taxes or fees.

The budget plan includes $1.2 billion in unrestricted aid to cities and towns, nearly $6 billion for local school aid and more than $110 million to increase access to school meals.

The plan also provides $266 million to help the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority address safety issues highlighted in a recent review of the transit agency by the Federal Transit Administration.

The budget also includes an outdoor section banning marriage for people under 18 in Massachusetts, which advocates say would make the state the seventh to ban marriage for those under 18.

Baker also pointed Thursday to a little-used, 36-year-old law that could trigger $3 billion in tax refunds to Massachusetts taxpayers due to increased revenue the state is experiencing. State lawmakers said Thursday they are waiting to see final revenue numbers.

Lawmakers are already working on a plan that would create about $500 million in permanent tax cuts and credits and $500 million in one-time $250 payments for middle-income earners.

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