Senate Passes FY 2020 Budget

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
MASSACHUSETTS SENATE
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON 02133

Senator Joan B. Lovely
State Senator
2nd Essex District

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 24, 2019

Senate Passes FY 2020 Budget

BOSTON– Last night, the Massachusetts State Senate passed a $42.8 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2020, after adding $74.4 million during three days of deliberations. The budget recommends targeted investments to provide access to opportunity and economic vitality across the Commonwealth.

“I would like to express my deepest appreciation to the members of the Senate for their kindness, thoughtfulness, willingness to work collaboratively, and commitment to service during this entire budget process,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland).  “Together, we worked hard to produce a fiscally responsible budget that reflects our Senate values.”

“I am proud of the collaborative process that the Senate employed this week, my first budget debate as Chair.  Through robust debate, we made further investments across several key areas including substance use treatment and supports, civics education, security upgrades at non-profits, and suicide prevention,” said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.  “Through respectful and thoughtful deliberation, and under the leadership of Senate President Spilka, the Senate has passed a budget that reflects our commitment to ensuring equity and boldly moving Massachusetts forward.  Thank you to my colleagues in the Senate for their many steps passionate advocacy over the course of our debate.”

“I am grateful that the Senate budget includes several amendments I filed to fund important needs on the North Shore and throughout the Commonwealth,” said Senator Joan B. Lovely (D-Salem). “Under the guidance of President Spilka and Senate Ways and Means Chair Rodrigues, the Senate had a productive week of debate. Their leadership and the collaboration of my colleagues has led to an FY 2020 budget that reflects the Senate’s shared priorities, including clean drinking water, quality education, job creation, and the protection of our most vulnerable populations.”

Specific North Shore projects in the Senate budget include:

  • $200,000 to establish the Frederick E. Berry Institute for Politics and Civic Engagement at Salem State University;
  • $100,000 to support Essex National Heritage Area Future Leaders, a summer youth employment and training program operated in partnership with the National Park Service;
  • $50,000 for LEAP for Education, which provides middle and high school students in Peabody, Salem and Gloucester with academic enrichment and post-secondary and career readiness;
  • $100,000 for the dredging of the Bass River in Beverly;
  • $100,000 for accessibility improvements to the Polish Legion of American Veterans Post 55 in Salem;
  • $100,000 for the expansion of the Danvers Rail Trail;
  • $50,000 for enhancements to Hood Pond in Topsfield;
  • $50,000 for the creation of an outdoor water recreational area in Peabody; and
  • $50,000 for a children’s museum in Peabody

Senator Lovely supported several statewide programs that received funding in the Senate budget, including:

  • $800,000 for Home Works, which provides summer and after-school programming for children living in emergency assistance housing;
  • $825,000 for child sexual abuse prevention, funds that the Massachusetts Citizens for Children and the Massachusetts Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Task Force will use to continue their work to protect children from sexual abuse;
  • $1,800,000 for YMCA youth-at-risk matching grants to support our most vulnerable youth;
  • $100,000 for the NAN Project to expand its successful peer-to-peer mentoring model to more communities and schools for suicide-prevention programs;
  • $250,000 for perinatal mental health screening pilot programs in Holyoke, Worcester, Lynn, Jamaica Plain, Fall River and Salem; and
  • $100,000 for the North Shore Community Health Center.

Senator Lovely also secured key policy amendments to:

  • Ensure Regional Tourism Councils receive their grant funding by September 1st of each year, allowing RTCs to plan and execute long-term marketing campaigns to support the job-creating tourism industry; and
  • Designate $5,000,000 in the Water Pollution Abatement Revolving Fund to remediate lead in drinking water in schools and early education facilities with an emphasis on low-income and early childhood facilities.

The Senate’s budget includes a total of $42.8B in spending, a 3.2% increase over the Fiscal Year 2019 General Appropriations Act.  The FY 2020 budget reduces reliance on the use of one-time revenue sources and directs $268M to the Stabilization Fund to continue to build the Commonwealth’s financial safety net.

The Senate’s budget strengthens Massachusetts’ commitment to being a national leader in ensuring children of all backgrounds have access to greater educational opportunities.  Consistent with the Senate’s long-standing commitment to supporting increased investments in education, this budget makes a significant down payment on the work of the Foundation Budget Review Commission (FBRC), and funds Chapter 70 at its highest level ever; $5.176B, an increase of $268.4M over FY 2019. 

This historic education investment allows for a minimum aid increase of at least $30 per pupil over FY 2019 for every school district across the state, as well as 100% effort reduction to bring all school districts to their target local contribution.  With this record level of investment, this budget focuses on school districts with the most pressing needs and addresses four key areas identified by the FBRC: employee health benefits, special education, English language learners, and low-income students in economically disadvantaged communities.  Consequentially, the budget also includes $345M for the Special Education Circuit Breaker, reimbursing school districts for the cost of educating students with disabilities at the statutorily required 75% reimbursement rate. Education investments include:

  • $5.176B for Chapter 70 education funding
  • $345M to fully fund the Special Education Circuit Breaker
  • $75.8M to reimburse school districts for regional school transportation costs, after adding $2M on the floor
  • $100M to reimburse school districts for costs incurred when students leave to attend charter schools
  • $558M for the University of Massachusetts, $293.2M for the fifteen community colleges, and $274M for the nine state universities; $2.5M for the Early Colleges program to allow students to earn college credits and get a head start on the transition to college, after adding $815K on the floor; and $2M for grants offered through the Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative to support high school students with intellectual disabilities ages 18–22 with access to higher education opportunities
  • $12M for grants to the Head Start program to maintain access to early education services for low-income families
  • $7.5M for the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative to expand access to preschool in underserved areas
  • $6.5M for Youth-At-Risk Matching grants, including support for YWCAs, YMCAs and Boys & Girls Clubs, after adding $1.9M on the floor
  • $2.5M for Rural School Aid , after adding $1M on the floor

The Senate’s budget continues Massachusetts’ leadership in keeping health care accessible and affordable, increasing resources, making investments to deliver services to our most vulnerable residents, and ensuring the well-being of individuals and families.

The budget funds MassHealth at a total of $16.55B to maintain access to affordable health care coverage for over 1.8 million people, ensuring comprehensive care for our most vulnerable children, seniors and low income residents. Many steps were taken in an effort to contain program costs and keep health care affordable and accessible to all. These include providing MassHealth with additional tools to tackle the rapidly growing cost of pharmaceutical drugs by permitting the Secretary of Health and Human Services to directly negotiate for fair and additional rebates or cost effective payment arrangements with pharmaceutical manufacturers. The budget also explores new and creative cost savings initiatives for MassHealth to purchase prescription drugs and requires greater transparency from pharmacy benefit managers. Health investments include:

  • $10M for the new Behavioral Health Outreach, Access and Support Trust Fund to support a loan forgiveness initiative for behavioral health workers and a general public awareness campaign
  • $150.2M for a range of substance abuse treatment and intervention services, including $3.5M in new funding to open five new recovery centers
  • $5M for investments in the substance use disorder workforce, including training on medication management, medication-assisted treatment and treatment of co-occurring disorders
  • $93.4M for children’s mental health services, including $3.9M for the Massachusetts Child Psychiatric Access Program (MCPAP) and $675K for MCPAP for Moms to address mental health needs of pregnant and postpartum women
  • $16.5M for Family Resource Centers to expand to new communities and meet increased demand for services
  • $489M for Adult Support Services, including assisted outpatient programming and comprehensive care coordination among health care providers
  • $25M to fully fund Department of Developmental Services Turning 22 services to help young people with disabilities transition to adulthood
  • $5M for the coordination of a comprehensive statewide strategy, in partnership with municipalities, public health harm reduction organizations and  other stakeholders, to promote existing harm reduction efforts and community-based harm reduction services
  • $1M for the Healthy Relationship grants program to support teen dating violence prevention efforts, after adding $850K on the floor

The Senate’s budget invests in programs and policies to educate, train, and prepare Massachusetts workers in order to provide them with opportunities to grow and succeed.  Opportunity investments include:

  • $38.5M for adult basic education services to improve access to skills and tools necessary to join the workforce
  • $15.6M for summer jobs and work-readiness training for at-risk youth, after adding $1.2M on the floor
  • $7M for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund to connect unemployed and under-employed workers with higher paying jobs
  • $2.5M for the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative Innovation Institute
  • $2.5M for the Precision Manufacturing Program
  • $2M for Small Business Technical Assistance grants
  • $2M for the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership
  • $1M for Regional Economic Development Organizations to support economic growth in all regions of the state

The Senate’s budget maintains the Senate’s commitment to increasing access to quality, affordable housing, investing in low-income housing and homelessness services and supports. Housing investments include:

  • $178.7M for Emergency Assistance Family Shelters, after adding $800K on the floor
  • $110M for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP)
  • $48.3M for assistance for homeless individuals
  • $30.8M for the HomeBASE diversion and rapid re-housing programs
  • $21M for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), including $3M to continue expanding eligibility for individuals in need, including persons with disabilities, seniors, unaccompanied youth, after adding $1M on the floor
  • $8M for the Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP) providing rental assistance to people with disabilities and $2.7M for grants to improve or create accessible affordable housing units
  • $7.5M for rental subsidies to help those suffering from mental health find or maintain stable housing, after adding $1M on the floor
  • $5M for housing and supportive services for unaccompanied homeless youth
  • $2.9M for the Home and Healthy Good program, including $500K for a new housing program to support those experiencing homelessness who also have complex medical and behavioral health needs.

The FY 2020 budget furthers regional equity and supports cities and towns by directing significant resources to local and regional aid.  This includes increased funding for Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) to $90.5M and ties future funding to inflation, while incentivizing RTAs to adopt best practices to ensure that commuters, students, seniors and people with disabilities are able to rely on public transportation to access jobs, education and opportunity.  In addition to traditional local aid, the Senate’s budget increases payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) for state-owned land to $30M.  PILOT funding has been a beneficial source of local aid that provides cities and towns with additional resources to support core public services. Local investments include:

  • $1.129B for unrestricted general government aid to support community investments in education, health care, public safety and roads and bridges
  • $29.1M for the Board of Library Commissioners, $11.5M for regional library local aid, $9.9M for municipal libraries and $3.3M for technology and automated resources
  • $18M for the Massachusetts Cultural Council to support local arts, culture and creative economy initiatives, after adding $1M on the floor
  • $18.1M for local Councils on Aging to strengthen programs and services in senior centers in communities across the state, after adding $1.4M on the floor
  • $11M for Shannon Grants, which are distributed to municipalities for youth gang violence prevention, after adding $2M on the floor

A Conference Committee will now convene to reconcile the differences between the Senate budget and the version passed by the House of Representatives in April. Fiscal Year 2020 begins on July 1, 2019.

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