Town Budget Voted, State Budget Getting Close


Above, Superintendent Lucas Giguere and School Business Administrator Miriam Goodman testify before the Town Council.

In back-to-back Marathon sessions Wednesday and Thursday evening, the Franklin Town Council heard from leaders of the schools and other town departments as well as parents, with small children in tow, who also sought to show support for school spending.

The end result was approval of a budget totaling some $150 million with talk of an override still in the air. There was some trimming of budgets as well as some new spending authorizations.

Franklin Matters has  a tidy summary of the whole two days as well as links to video of the meetings.

And...on Beacon Hill

Meanwhile this week, the Massachusetts Senate wrapped up work on its $55.9 billion fiscal year 2024 budget Thursday, capping off three days of deliberations that covered topics ranging from immigration to spiked drinks to birthing centers. Senators unanimously approved the spending plan after dispensing with more than 1,000 amendments over the course of the week, many of which were packaged together into supersized bundles that received little or no commentary. Altogether, the Senate added $82.2 million in spending to the budget via amendments, according to a Senate Ways and Means Committee spokesperson.

The final day of work featured a lengthy discussion about the state's economic and demographic stumbles as swaths of residents leave for other states, and the commentary on divergent priorities forecast a potentially tricky Senate debate when the chamber takes up a still-unreleased tax relief bill. Senate Democrats also lined up in support of a plan to exempt new surtax revenues from pushing the state closer to the allowable limit on tax collections, making it less likely Massachusetts will trigger the voter-approved law that last year forced government to return nearly $3 billion to taxpayers. 

The House and Senate will now appoint lawmakers to a conference committee tasked with negotiating a final budget in private. They'll need to resolve major differences between the two versions of the state spending plan, such as whether to authorize online Lottery sales as the House proposed and whether to extend in-state tuition at public colleges and universities to undocumented immigrants as the Senate sought. The Senate adjourned for a long holiday weekend and will return Tuesday at 11 a.m. for an informal session

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