Yesterday afternoon, Governor Baker released his FY2020 budget. (You can view preliminary Cherry Sheets on the DLS website.) While his FY2020 budget shows payments for state-owned land level funded at $28.5 million, rural communities would only see $14.91 million of that funding — down from $15.24 million in FY2019.
Put another way, 89 rural towns (55%) would see a loss in payments under the Governor’s FY2020 budget. Another 24 rural towns would receive increases of less than $1,000 per town. We have pulled the data for rural communities from the Cherry Sheets linked above. To see your community’s data, please click here.
We already have started reaching out to legislators about the negative impact this aspect of the Governor’s FY2020 budget would have on rural communities in Massachusetts. Please contact your town’s representative and senator to let them know how these changes would impact your town’s financial situation.
Improving payments for state-owned land to rural communities is a legislative priority of the Small Town Summit. It was the topic of our recent report, Parks and Restitution: State-Owned Land Causing Financial Pain in Rural Massachusetts, which provides background information and recommendations for legislation and policy changes. The issue of payments for state-owned land also was the subject of the September 2018 Small Town Summit in Peru, which would lose $23,090 in FY2020 under the Governor’s budget.