Today, I am filing my budget proposal for fiscal year 2015. The total budget proposal is $36.374 billion, an increase of 4.9 percent over the current fiscal year's estimated spending, consistent with the consensus among the Legislature, the Administration and the various economists we consult on revenue growth.
This is a balanced, responsible budget that supports economic growth by investing in education, innovation, and infrastructure. As in the past, this budget emphasizes the growth of jobs and opportunity in both the near term and the long term.
When we're done here, Secretary Shor and his team will take you through the proposal in as much detail as you like, but let me note a couple of the highlights, from my perspective.
First, we have again proposed a record level of investment in the public schools. This budget invests $100 million in new Chapter 70 education aid for local school districts.
We also propose more than $68 million in additional funding to our public colleges and universities. This funding is the next installment in our commitment to get back to at least 50/50 funding levels for public higher ed and should enable them once again to freeze tuition and fees at current levels.
Researchers, educators, parents, business leaders and policymakers all agree that children who have access to early education have a greater chance to succeed. This budget invests an additional $15 million to provide access to early education for 1,700 more children from low-to-moderate income families who are currently on waitlists for such opportunities.
Taken together, we are proposing an increase in public education spending of $205 million. We do so because education is our calling card around the world and because that's the single best way to prepare our people for work and for life.
We invest in our transportation infrastructure because roads, rail, bridges and other public works create a foundation that supports private sector investment and expanded opportunity. Of course, most of this is done in the separate capital budget. Importantly, this budget fully funds the next phase of planned transportation investments and ends the decades-old, fiscally unsustainable practice of paying for transportation staff from the capital budget.
Through a relatively modest investment of $9.1 million, this budget brings renewed focus to providing both youth and adults with the tools and skills to successfully re-enter society after criminal and civil custody. We have some very promising new work we are undertaking in this area, and Secretary Cabral and I look forward to spending more time with you on these initiatives in the next few weeks.
In that same vein, we propose to expand our summer jobs program for at-risk youth, a proven pathway to success.
As we have in every budget these last 7 years, we propose a further series of reforms to streamline government to achieve savings, create efficiencies and improve performance. Those reforms include additional transportation reforms that will generate savings and improve business practices, the implementation of integrated facilities management to protect our capital investments and achieve operating cost savings for state buildings, and investments to strengthen our preparedness and resilience against the impacts of climate change.
I should also note that we reached an agreement last year with the relevant union on staffing levels at DCF, and this budget as well as the sup we are filing today, proposes to fund that additional staffing as well.
Speaking of the sup, it is our custom to file a supplemental budget with the proposal for next fiscal year and we will do so again today. Basically, this is to cover various spending deficiencies we foresee now halfway through the year. Secretary Shor and his team are happy to walk you through those details as well.
The entire proposal is as usual available for your or the general public's review as of later today at mass.gov/budget/governor. We have also prepared the presentation by mission, so that you can see what the focus of each program is, what and how they are spending against their strategic plan, and what results they have achieved since last year.
I want to thank Secretary Shor, Assistant Secretary Emme Schultz and their team for the exceptional work they have done to prepare this budget, and all the members of the Cabinet and their teams for the thoughtful work they did on this and do every day.
I am proud of the progress we have made over the past seven years and confident that, with these investments, our future is bright. And I look forward to continuing our work with the Legislature on this budget and the other business before the people of the Commonwealth.