Sen. Sal DiDomenico and his colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate recently passed a $42.8 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2020, after three days of deliberations.
The budget recommends targeted investments to provide access to opportunity and economic vitality across the Commonwealth. As Assistant Majority Leader of the Massachusetts Senate, Sen. DiDomenico was able to secure a number of amendments providing additional funding for his local communities, bringing home resources for the city of Everett.
“After careful deliberation, the Senate has passed a thoughtful budget that both reflects the shared priorities of our chamber and addresses the pressing needs of our communities,” said Senator DiDomenico, Assistant Majority Leader of the Massachusetts Senate. “This budget includes key investments in many of my top priority items that will have a positive and direct impact on Everett, and I am happy to report that many of my amendments providing additional resources for our community were also adopted to the final Senate budget. I would like to thank Senate Ways & Means Chair Michael Rodrigues and Senate President Karen Spilka for all of their great work to craft a budget that will undoubtedly help to move our entire Commonwealth forward.”
Funds secured by Senator DiDomenico for the city of Everett include:
•$500,000 for the hazardous materials response team in the cities of Cambridge, Everett and Boston
•$75,000 for the Cambridge Health Alliance for increased access to office-based opioid treatment services in the city of Everett
•$75,000 for music programming for public schools in the city of Everett
•$50,000 for access to technology for students at the public schools in the city of Everett
•$100,000 for a grant program for the Museum of Science to operate an engineering curriculum in elementary schools in the cities of Everett and Cambridge
•$75,000 for the Everett middle school after-school robotics program
•$6 million increase in Chapter 70 education funding
Other budget amendments filed by Senator DiDomenico include:
•$1 million in new funding to create a pilot program that seeks to close the SNAP Gap in Massachusetts
•new language to ensure high-needs schools continue using a breakfast after the bell model to boost school breakfast participation rates
•$2 million to establish a grant program for statewide census outreach to support trusted community organizations and grassroots leaders to help reach historically hard-to-count communities
•$300,000 to Nurtury to help expand their network of family child care providers
•$250,000 for Operation ABLE, the only agency in Massachusetts committed solely to the employment needs of mature workers (those 45 years and older)
•$200,000 for the 1199 SEIU Training and Upgrading Fund to help increase the quality of consumer, patient and resident care.
The Senate’s budget also 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.
The city of Everett will receive over $75 million in Chapter 70 education funding, a $6 million increase over the previous fiscal year.
“With this budget, we are making it clear that we are serious about securing more funding for our K-12 public schools and reforming our state’s outdated education funding formula,” said DiDomenico. “This has been- and continues to be- my top education priority, and I am proud that my district will receive the additional funds that they deserve in the Senate budget.”
Other top priority items for Senator DiDomenico that were included in the Fiscal Year 2019 Senate Budget and will benefit Everett residents are:
•$4.8 million for the state’s pediatric palliative care network- a $1M increase over FY19- to ensure there is no wait list for these critical services so children and their families have the extra care and support that they need;
•$350 per child clothing allowance to help low-income families meet their basic needs
•$12 million for grants to the Head Start program to maintain access to early education services for low-income families
•$6.5 million for Youth-At-Risk Matching grants, including support for YWCAs, YMCAs and Boys & Girls Clubs
The Senate’s budget also 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:
•$38.5 million for adult basic education services to improve access to skills and tools necessary to join the workforce
•$15.6 million for summer jobs and work-readiness training for at-risk youth, after adding $1.2M on the floor
•$7 million for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund to connect unemployed and under-employed workers with higher paying jobs
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:
•$178.7 million for Emergency Assistance Family Shelters
•$110 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP)
•$48.3 million for assistance for homeless individuals
•$30.8 million for the HomeBASE diversion and rapid re-housing programs
•$21 million 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
•$5 million for housing and supportive services for unaccompanied homeless youth
The FY 2020 budget furthers regional equity and supports cities and towns by directing significant resources to local and regional aid. Local investments include:
•$1.129 billion for unrestricted general government aid to support community investments in education, health care, public safety and roads and bridges
•$18 million for the Massachusetts Cultural Council to support local arts, culture and creative economy initiatives
•$18.1 million for local Councils on Aging to strengthen programs and services in senior centers in communities across the state
•$11 million for Shannon Grants, which are distributed to municipalities for youth gang violence prevention
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.