Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, BC ’09, announced his official budget proposal for fiscal year 2020 on Wednesday morning, which prioritizes investments in creating and sustaining future growth in the City of Boston and significantly increases funding toward education and housing, among other areas.
The $3.48 billion proposal raises total spending by 5 percent, and specifically increases investment spending in six major categories: early childhood education, affordable housing, climate preparedness, addiction recovery services, public safety, and economic opportunity.
Walsh seeks to achieve these goals by combining short and long-term investments, and
the budget supports the city’s long-term plan Imagine Boston 2030, the first attempt in 50 years aimed at guiding inclusionary growth to boost quality of life and equity resilience in every neighborhood across the city.
“Boston’s budget sets forward a blueprint for the values that matter: creating opportunity, ensuring equity and working towards a better Boston for all residents,” Walsh said in an official statement.
Over the past six years, Boston has increased annual spending on public education at Boston Public Schools and charter schools by over $300 million, and the FY20 budget allocates more funds than ever before to education.
The proposal allocates $15 million toward the “Quality Pre-K Fund,” a program that seeks to guarantee equitable access to free pre-kindergarten for all 4-year-olds living in Boston within five years.
Additional investments in education include free MBTA passes to all students in grades 7 through 12, $6 million in school-based investments, $2 million in funds to prevent schools facing declining enrollments, and $2.5 million in new funds directed specifically to high-need students.
Walsh also seeks to ramp up efforts toward preserving and increasing access to affordable housing. Next year, Boston will spend $125 million on housing, signifying a 45-percent increase in investment in City-funded housing efforts.
These efforts include investments toward the production of new housing preservation of existing affordable housing and an expansion of the Additional Dwelling Units program, through which the city provides no-interest loans for income eligible homeowners.
To combat youth homelessness, $1 million in funds will be allocated to provide connections to employment, rental assistance, and supportive services for youth most at risk.
The budget now waits to be voted on by City Council sometime next month, and it runs from July 1 to June 30 each year.
“I’m proud our strong fiscal management will continue to allow us to invest in the future of our city, and growing our middle class,” Walsh said. “By investing in our future, we’ll strengthen our city for all who live here, and for our future generations to come.”
Featured Image Courtesy of the City of Boston