BOSTON — After stripping out a 1 percent local aid cut Gov. Deval Patrick had requested, the Legislature on Thursday agreed to a final version of a $115 million midyear spending bill.
The bill spares employers from a $500 million unemployment insurance rate hike, provides $44 million for homeless and family shelter services and $25 million for public counsel services, and sets aside a $30 million reserve to cover costs associated with former state chemist Annie Dookhan’s manipulation of criminal drug evidence.
While tax collections in December and January surpassed budget benchmarks by more than $300 million, Democratic legislative leaders opted to go along with Patrick’s request to take $200 million more from the state’s rainy day fund to support spending this fiscal year, which featured below benchmark tax collections last fall that caused Patrick to make unilateral spending cuts.
A House amendment that would study the issue of limiting in-state tuition to U.S. citizens and permanent residents was left out of the final bill. After Republicans sought to make the state’s in-state tuition process more stringent, Democrats elected to send the issue to study.
The Senate stripped that study amendment out of its bill and on Thursday the House agreed to the Senate’s version.