This years MMA Conference featured Lt. Governor Tim Murray standing in for Governor Patrick and delivering the first news on local aid for the upcoming fiscal year. The Governor intends to level fund unrestricted local aid at $865 million, which is good news for communities. The Governor is holding aside an additional $65 million, which would be distributed to localities if the FY12 budget ends in surplus. Lt. Governor Murray also announced a hike in Chapter 70 School Aid to $4.1 billion, an increase of $145 million, and a Chapter 90 (Roads) allocation of $200 million. Difficult to believe that a level funded local aid account would actually be considered good news, but in light of the economy it really is considered just that. The Governor gives his State of the State speech tonight, and will unveil his budget on Wednesday. Of course more to come.