Friday, September 15, 2000
Carlisle to get more education and lottery funds from the state
Now that the debate and late night sessions are over and the state budget for fiscal year 2001 has been finalized, the Mosquito asked Senator Susan Fargo's office what Carlisle residents can expect. The Senate's top priorities: education, health care, housing and tax cuts are reflected heavily in the document.
The Senate's aims in the area of education were largely successful and the final budget includes a $205 million increase for state aid to local schools, incorporating the Senate's full $187 million recommendation for Chapter 70 and an emphasis on lowering class sizes with $18 million. "The statewide numbers are impressive but the local numbers help show what is really at stake here," said Fargo. Carlisle's share, $647,006, is up about 25% from last year's sum of $520,306. School transportation funding for Carlisle will be a bit higher, at $51,834 compared to $50,409 last year.
Fargo was disappointed that the report included a change in the special education law to adopt the federal standard of "free and appropriate public education." The new standard will go into effect in January 2002.
On September 7, Fargo announced that Concord-Carlisle Regional School District will receive five grants, totalling $58,000 from the Department of Education. This will allow hiring an additional English as a Second language tutor, continuing a community service learning program and the Youth Technology Entrepreneurs program.
As far as lottery funds are concerned, Carlisle will receive $207,382 for FY01, up from $189,244 last year. In addition, due to a legislative move on the last day of the session, the town will receive an added $25,084 from Lottery proceeds in FY00. There will be no increase in "additional assistance" funds from the state which will remain at $18,534 for FY01.
It is still unclear how much Carlisle will receive in Chapter 90 funds for road and pathway improvements. In total, $100 million was appropriated, but the allotment for each town will not be announced until mid-September, according to Fargo's office.
Other highlights in the FY01 budget include:
· Towns ( at local option) may abate up to $500 from local property tax bills for seniors who volunteer for their communities.
· A tax deduction for charitable giving allows taxpayers to deduct up to 50 percent of their donations to charitable organizations.
· A freeze on the gas tax at 21 cents per gallon
· The same property tax relief for widows of disabled veterans as they were entitled to when their spouses were alive.
In addition, residents will benefit from the following tax cuts from the FY00 budget:
· The income tax rate, reduced to 5.85 percent on January 1, 2000, will be reduced to 5.8 percent in 2001 and to 5.75 percent in 2002.
· The definition of dependent was changed to include elderly and disabled dependents.
· The budget also creates a circuit breaker tax cut for low and moderate income seniors that gives them up to a $750 tax credit if their property tax exceeds ten percent of their income.
Thanks to Senator Susan Fargo's office.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito