Senate Passes Fiscal Year 2018 Budget

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
MASSACHUSETTS SENATE
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON 02133

Senator Joan B. Lovely
State Senator
2nd Essex District

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 25, 2017

Senate Passes Fiscal Year 2018 Budget

The Senate voted today on a $40.8 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2018, investing in key areas related to local aid, education, health and human services, housing and workforce development. The budget makes targeted investments, while limiting the use of one-time revenue sources and protecting the state’s Stabilization Fund.

Senator Joan Lovely has continued to focus her energies during the FY18 debate on issues supporting children and families. Her efforts in these areas paid off huge dividends in the Senate’s version of the FY2018 Operating Budget with significant progress made on the Home Works program and Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Program (MCPAP) for Moms.

 The budget takes steps to contain health care costs and invests in health and human services to ensure access to high quality, affordable health care and to support children, seniors, people with disabilities and veterans.

  • $388.4M for mental health support services for adults, including $1M to expand community-based placements to alleviate longer than necessary stays in inpatient units or emergency rooms.
  • $144.1M for a range of substance abuse treatment, intervention and recovery support services.
  • $91.6M for mental health services for children and young people, including $3.7M for the Massachusetts Child Psychiatric Access Program (MCPAP) and $300K for a loan forgiveness program to increase the number of mental health professionals treating children in underserved areas.
  • $50M for family support and stabilization services.
  • $24.2M to fully fund Department of Developmental Services Turning 22 services to help young people with disabilities transition to the adult services system.
  • $13.2M for Family Resource Centers, providing community-based services for families across the state.

MCPAP for Moms, which has been a priority for Senator Lovely, provides real-time, perinatal psychiatric consultation and care coordination for obstetric, pediatric, primary care and psychiatric providers to effectively prevent, identify, and manage their pregnant and postpartum patients’ mental health and substance use concerns. This account received $500,000 in earmarked funding in the Senate’s proposed budget.

“It’s critical we provide the resources necessary for mental health treatment for pregnant women and new moms,” stated Senator Joan Lovely. “As Chairperson of the Ellen Story Postpartum Depression Commission, I have heard too many stories from mothers experiencing postpartum depression and the long-term effects it can have on families.”

The FY18 Senate Budget focuses on low income housing and homelessness by investing $464.1M in preventative and supportive resources to connect people with affordable, stable housing, as well as assistance for those in crisis. In addition to increasing funding, the budget expands access to housing and homelessness prevention resources by increasing the income threshold for rental vouchers, expanding eligibility for the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program and increasing the HomeBASE re-housing subsidy cap to better divert families to housing.

  • $166.1M for Emergency Assistance Family Shelters.
  • $100M for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program, providing funding for 350 to 400 new rental assistance vouchers.
  • $46.5M for assistance for homeless individuals.
  • $32.6M for the HomeBASE diversion and rapid re-housing program.
  • $18.5M for RAFT, providing short-term financial assistance to low income families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
  • $5.5M for the Alternative Housing Voucher Program to provide over 100 new rental assistance vouchers for low income people with disabilities.
  • $2.5M for housing and supportive services for unaccompanied homeless youth.

The Home Works program provides opportunities for children in the emergency housing assistance program to attend out-of-school time and summer programming at youth serving organizations. A youth serving organization shall apply to contract with the department of housing and community development to receive contract slots to serve children in the program. Home Works was funded at $1 million in the Senate Budget.

“We’re honored to partner with Senator Lovely in supporting the creation of the Home Works program over the past few years. We are incredibly excited that this program has passed in both the Senate and the House budget and will allow us to continue our work serving children in the Emergency Assistance program” stated Peter Doliber, Executive Director of the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs.

“This idea started after working with families sheltered in hotels and motels in Danvers. While I am glad that homeless children and families are no longer living in hotels and motels in Danvers

I am excited to see this program funded in the Senate budget so it can be a resource to children and families statewide,” said Senator Lovely. “Given the location of these shelters and motels, many children may not have access to quality environments to socialize, be active, or simply complete their homework. This program could resolve this issue for a number of kids here in Massachusetts.”

Senator Lovely filed 22 amendments to the FY18 Budget, prioritizing the Massachusetts Chapter of Best Buddies, a Postpartum Depression Pilot Program, and Treehouse Foundation which offers an award-winning, inter-generational community model to support foster families. Senator Lovely also filed an important amendment to help secure timely funding for the state’s regional tourism councils.

“Tourism is a major contributor to our area’s economy, creating jobs and spurring small businesses throughout our area.  Senator Lovely’s passion and steadfast pursuit to enhance the tourism industry’s ability to promote and market our region will only create more economic growth for our area,” stated Ann Marie Casey, Executive Director of the North of Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau.

In addition to the 22 amendments Senator Lovely filed, she co-sponsored over 70 budget amendments supporting individuals with disabilities, veterans, seniors, children and families and education.

Senator Lovely successfully co-sponsored an amendment supporting $100,000 for Triangle, Inc., a social service agency that supports individuals with disabilities entering the workforce through their School-to-Career program.

“Senator Joan Lovely is a champion for individuals with disabilities. Her record of accomplishment in establishing inclusivity in our schools and workplaces is well-known and impressive. Through her strong efforts in this year’s state budget, Triangle Inc. is on a path to better serve students with disabilities by getting them out of segregated environments and into the heart of our communities in order to secure competitive employment and live fuller and more meaningful lives,” said Coleman Nee, CEO of Triangle, Inc.

Senator Lovely filed and the Senate adopted the following local budget amendments:

  • $50,000 for the GAR Hall in Beverly
  • $50,000 for the Carriage House at Lynch Park in Beverly
  • $100,000 for Infrastructure Grants in Beverly
  • $50,000 for Danvers Technology Improvements
  • $25,000 for the Peabody Fire and Police Memorial in Peabody
  • $25,000 to support the expense of Peabody’s Centennial Celebrations
  • $50,000 for a Peabody – Salem trolley study
  • $100,000 for Artists Row in Salem

“It is my sincere hope that Governor Baker maintains these funding levels to support these projects in the 2nd Essex District without mid-year 9c cuts,” added Senator Joan Lovely.

For a full view of Senator Lovely’s sponsored and co-sponsored amendments please visit https://malegislature.gov/Budget/FY2018/SenateDebate/Amendments/lovely.

A Conference Committee will now work out the differences between the Senate budget and the version passed by the House of Representatives in April. Fiscal Year 2018 begins on July 1, 2017.

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