Massachusetts' new budget will provide free school lunches for K-12 students, thanks to an additional 4% income tax on state residents' incomes above $1 million.
The extra tax, known as the Fair Share Amendment, was approved by voters in November 2022. It is generating an extra $1 billion for the state. Of that, $224 million will go to K-12 programs, including free lunch and implementing "clean energy" in schools, the governor's office said.
"This FY24 budget shows that Massachusetts can address critical needs like housing, college affordability and hunger while also remaining fiscally responsible," state Administration and Finance Secretary Matthew Gorzkowicz said. "This spending plan is both affordable and necessary to meet the array of needs confronting our families, businesses and municipalities, and I am thankful to my partners in the Legislature for their collaboration to get this done."
Additionally, $229 million will go to higher education, including making community college free for students 25 and older. And $71 million will go toward increasing the number of child care slots for low-income families and "put the Commonwealth on a path to universal Pre-K," the governor's office said.
The standard state income tax rate in Massachusetts is 5%.
The remaining $477 million of the Fair Share Amendment revenue will go toward transportation, including preserving highway bridges, improving city roads and increasing accessibility to public transportation stations.
The total Massachusetts budget is about $56 billion.