Senate Passes Fiscal Year 2015 Budget

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
MASSACHUSETTS SENATE
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON 02133-1053

Senator Joan B. Lovely
State Senator
2nd Essex District

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 23, 2014

Senate Passes Fiscal Year 2015 Budget

(Boston) – Senator Joan Lovely announced that on Thursday the Senate passed the Commonwealth’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget, which includes $200,000 for the River House shelter in Beverly.

“I’ve toured the River House and it relies heavily on state-funding to provide services to its guests so they can secure a stable source of income and a permanent home”, said Senator Lovely. “I’m pleased that my colleagues recognized the need for additional support for homeless shelter services on the North Shore and voted to adopt my amendment for the River House.”

In addition to the River House amendment, Senator Lovely co-sponsored 22 successful amendments over the course of the two-day debate. Some of those amendments include:

  • A $10,000,000 transfer of potential net surplus in the budgetary funds for fiscal year 2014 to the Massachusetts Community Preservation Trust Fund, which would affect communities that have adopted the Community Preservation Act like Beverly, Peabody, and Salem;
  • An expansion of the state’s “Bottle Bill” which devotes new ongoing revenue to the Community Preservation Act and the Brownfields Redevelopment Trust;
  • An additional $200,000 for the alternative housing voucher program, which provides rental vouchers to applicants with disabilities;
  • $2,400,000 in funding increases for the Massachusetts Cultural Council;
  • $1,500,000 in additional funding to regional tourism councils; and
  • A $250,000 increase for Mass in Motion, a statewide movement that promotes opportunities for healthy eating and active living in 52 Massachusetts cities and towns, including Salem.

Several of Senator Lovely’s budgetary priorities were already included in the Senate Ways and Means budget released prior to debate. Among these include additional local aid, through a reserve account, to parties involved in the newly formed Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School that did not receive an appropriate Chapter 70 allocation in FY15 due to changes in enrollment figures. “My office has been working very closely with many of the member communities, especially the city of Peabody, to make sure that each school district receives enough funding to properly educate the number of students in their classrooms”, said Senator Lovely.

Other notable policy initiatives in the Senate Ways and Means budget include:

  • $18,000,000 to support new substance abuse prevention and treatment programs
  • Fully funding the Special Education Circuit breaker for the 3rd year in a row
  • 90% funding reimbursements for Regional School transportation costs
  • $70,000,000 for the state’s low income housing voucher program
  • $17,500,000 to expand access to early education for low income families; and
  • $39,000,000 in new supports for child welfare.

The budget will now go to a Conference Committee for reconciliation with the budget passed by the House of Representatives last month.

 

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