House Passes Balanced Budget

Rep. Joe McGonagle prioritizes transportation, mental health, senior services

Last week, Rep. Joe McGonagle joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to pass its Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) budget, which invests in programs and services across the Commonwealth.

Funded at $42.7 billion, the House budget makes major investments in housing, education, substance use disorder services, health care, and infrastructure. At the same time, the House projects a $200 million deposit into the Stabilization Fund, bringing the fund’s balance to more than $2.5 billion to safeguard the future of vital programs and services.

Within the House budget, Rep. McGonagle is excited to report he secured funding for three vital projects in Everett:

•Transportation funding to pay for the installation of more signage on major thoroughfares. These signs will help maintain safety and efficiency with the increase of visitors to Everett due to the opening of Encore Boston.

•Mental health funding to create a new position in the City of Everett for a mental health clinician to assist with substance abuse, mental health, and gambling addiction.

•Elder affairs funding to pay for the renovation of the basement of the senior center to expand senior services.

“Working closely with Mayor Carlo DeMaria, Senator Sal DiDomenico, and the City Council, I was proud to advocate and secured funding for three high-priority projects in the City of Everett,” said McGonagle. “As your State Representative, I am committed to advocating for the issues that matter most to you — and I believe the budget amendments I secured related to transportation, mental health, and senior services exemplify my commitment to you.”

In addition to advocating for Everett’s specific budget priorities, McGonagle, in his leadership role as the Vice Chairman of the Joint Committee on Housing, advocated for the House budget to reflect his commitment to expanding safe, quality, and affordable housing. This House budget represents some of the biggest increases seen in a generation when it comes to housing and homelessness funding. This year, the House continues these efforts by providing:

•$110 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP);

•$72 million for Public Housing Subsidies;

•$7.2 million for Alternative Housing Voucher Program; and

•$53.4 million for Homeless individual shelters.

Specifically, McGonagle secured an amendment, which makes improvements and increased funding for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), in the form of:

•Making MRVP more usable by increasing voucher rent caps to current fair market rent standards

•Helping distribute vouchers faster by directing the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to release a distribution plan

•Targeting new vouchers to the lowest-income households

•Raising the admin fee to help more effectively administer the program

•Allowing any unspent MRVP funds to automatically be available for the program the next year.

“I am so proud of all that this budget does to expand housing initiatives throughout the Commonwealth,” McGonagle said. “We made critical investments to solving our housing crisis by drastically increasing funding for affordable housing, homelessness prevention, and community development programs. While there is still so much work to do, I look forward to continuing to work with the City of Everett, my colleagues in the Legislature, and the Baker Administration to help everyone in the Commonwealth have a safe, healthy, and affordable place to call home.” The budget will now go to the Senate.

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