Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) budget affirms a commitment to progress, opportunity and innovation by investing in Boston’s neighborhoods while maintaining the Mayor’s strong record of financial management. The $3.29 billion plan is balanced, sustainable, and accelerates progress across public policy areas. The budget contains historic levels of funding for public education, new investments in public safety, continued efforts to create affordable and middle income housing, expanded services for residents struggling with substance use disorders and addiction, and new initiatives that will transform the future of transportation in Boston.
Boston is a growing city, with an evolving population that needs new and expanded city services. In his first term in office, Mayor Walsh improved outcomes across the City’s services, from education to housing, economic security to quality of life, and open space to the arts. In FY19, the Mayor proposes to build on those successes and make real, meaningful changes to the future of Boston’s landscape. Investments in public safety, education, transportation, housing, public health, and many other areas reflect a City committed to providing the services to expand opportunity and security to Boston’s middle class.
Boston’s expanding economy is generating growing revenue to support investments in city neighborhoods. Property tax growth remains the main driver and far exceeds previous growth realized in the City. Local receipts, such as fines, fees and excise tax also continue to grow modestly as a result of an expanding economy. The City continues to weather reductions to net State aid, a decade-long trend of disinvestment driven by modest growth in State aid revenue and large increases in State assessments.
Maintaining fiscal discipline
The commitment Mayor Walsh made to fiscal responsibility at the beginning of his Administration is yielding tangible results. The City’s efforts to control health care costs have saved $50 million since FY15, its pension liability is on track to be fully paid by 2025, faster than most Massachusetts cities, and City services are more efficient, effective and responsive to the needs of Boston’s residents than ever before. The FY19 budget continues those steps by:
- Paying down the City’s long-term liabilities
- Controlling fixed costs and health insurance
- Data-based new investments
- Proactive fiscal management
- Maximizing revenue from local revenue
- Growing in-line with the City's projected revenue growth
These discplined financial practices have been affirmed by Boston’s AAA credit rating and have better positioned Boston to manage through changes in local, state, and federal policy and funding levels.
State and Federal Dynamics
Declines in state support and the continued uncertainty surrounding federal aid and the President’s proposed cuts to programs that support Boston's most vulnerable put increased pressures on municipalities. In Boston, we are creating new jobs and spurring development, allowing us to continue to invest in our City while we grapple with these uncertainties. Our commitment to disciplined financial practices has enabled us to continue to provide critical, quality services to our residents despite these gaps in state and federal funding. We will need to work together to advocate for greater investment by our partners at the state and federal levels to ensure continued prosperity for the City and the state.
FY19 expenditures are increasing by $138.5 million or 4.4% over the FY18 budget, for a total of $3.29 billion. Funding for city services, like streets, parks, public health and public safety will grow by $43 million, including $12 million in new data-driven investments. Education funding will increase by $68 million compared to FY18 adopted and $37 million compared to FY18 current appropriation, funding for collective bargaining will increase $30 million over the FY18 budget and other fixed costs like pensions and debt service make up the remaining growth of $28 million.
Schools as the Great Equalizer
Health and Social Emotional Wellness
FY19 Budget Priorities
The Mayor’s FY19 budget builds on four years of investment in the areas that mean the most to Bostonians. Those investments are returning tremendous results, and this budget contains historic levels of funding for public education in our schools, new investments in public safety, continued efforts to create affordable and middle income housing, expanded services for residents struggling with substance use and addiction disorders, and new initiatives that will transform the future of transportation in Boston.
City Budget Priorities
Transformational Investments in Streets and Transportation
Equity, Diversity, and Mobility
Public Safety for a Growing City
Improving and Expanding Addiction Services
Preparing for Climate Change
Property Tax Revenue
State Revenue and Assessments
Imagine Boston Capital Plan
Mayor Walsh’s $2.43 billion FY19-FY23 Capital Plan moves Boston residents’ priorities from idea to action, and invests in creating the city Bostonians imagine for the future. Under the Imagine Boston 2030 umbrella, the City is investing deeply in the core goals of BuildBPS, Go Boston 2030, Boston Creates, and Climate Ready Boston. Over 14,000 Boston voices shaped the Mayor’s vision for Boston in 2030. They envisioned a city that will expand opportunity for all, support a dynamic economy, enhance quality of life, and prepare for climate change.
From idea to action
Over 14,000 Boston voices shaped the Mayor’s vision for Boston in 2030. They envisioned a city that will expand opportunity for all, support a dynamic economy, enhance quality of life, and prepare for climate change. Imagine Boston 2030 identifies key areas where Boston can take action to, enhance neighborhoods’ vitality, encourage mixed-use job centers, provide spaces for new housing and jobs as we grow, create a waterfront for future generations; and connect historically underserved neighborhoods to more opportunities.
Investing in core goals
Mayor Walsh’s $2.43 billion FY9-FY23 Capital Plan moves Boston residents’ priorities from idea to action, and invests in creating the city Bostonians imagine for the future. An estimated 85% of projects in the FY19-23 Capital Plan are aligned with the City’s planning efforts:
- $1 billion over ten years to bring Boston's school buildings into the 21st Century. After spending close to $100 million in the first year, this Plan sets the stage for continued investment in 21st century classrooms, new and expanded schools, new kitchens to serve fresh food, school safety upgrades and funding for future projects coming out of the BuildBPS community engagement process.
- In collaboration with State and Federal sources, will invest $967 million over the next five years in implementing the core initiatives outlined in Go Boston 2030: streets that are safer for all users of our roads and sidewalks, travel that is more reliable and predictable, and quality transportation choices that improve access to interconnect our neighborhoods for all modes of travel.
- Implement Imagine Boston 2030’s Open Space goals, including early action items, investing in Franklin Park as a keystone park for the city, completing the Emerald Necklace, and restoring Boston Common to its full vibrancy.
- Boston will prepare for climate change by investing City dollars and outside funding to develop more detailed climate plans for Boston neighborhoods, especially those most at risk for coastal flooding.
- Continuing the Percent for Art Program, funded for the first time in last years Capital Plan, demonstrates the City’s leadership and commitment to sustainable funding for the commissioning of public art.
With investments in roads, bridges, schools, libraries, parks, firehouses, and community centers, the Imagine Boston Capital Plan touches each neighborhood and shapes a City that over 14,000 voices told us they want to see.
How the Budget Works