The following is a press release from the Office of State Rep. Ken Gordon
Representative Ken Gordon (D – Bedford) and his colleagues in the House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) budget early Thursday morning, setting the state on a path toward economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. The $47.7 billion budget includes significant investments in education, supportive services for vulnerable populations, MassHealth, and economic development, in addition to local funding for the Towns of Burlington and Bedford.
“This budget is the result of hard work and collaboration between lawmakers and residents,” said Rep. Gordon. “I am especially proud of the significant investments in our schools, which addresses the toll that this year has taken on the mental health, well-being, and academic success of students here in the Commonwealth. I know this funding comes as a relief to educators as well, who have been on the front lines since the beginning of the pandemic, working tirelessly to support our children and their own families.”
The FY22 House budget reflects the local aid commitment recently made by the House and Senate. It increases Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) by $39.5 million over FY21 and Chapter 70 education funding by $219.6 million over FY21, fully funding the first year of the six-year implementation plan of the Student Opportunity Act (SOA). The SOA was enacted in 2019 to facilitate equitable funding to support the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable students and remains on track to be fully implemented.
Rep. Gordon filed several amendments that were included in the House budget. These amendments designated $100,000 for Communities for Restorative Justice, Inc. (C4RJ), $50,000 for redevelopment and revitalization of Burlington’s downtown business center, and funding to support Bedford Public Schools’ commitment to educating students from military families at Hanscom Air Force Base.
The budget also includes:
- $40 million for the enrollment reserve fund to help school districts whose fall enrollment is negatively impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and $15 million for summer education and supportive services to help students manage the consequences of prolonged remote learning;
- $20 million investment in rate increases for child care providers across Massachusetts;
- $571 million for the University of Massachusetts system, $315 million for community colleges, and $291 million for state universities, in addition to a $10 million increase in scholarship funding over last fiscal year;
- $18.969 billion for MassHealth to fully fund its caseload, which has increased as more residents became eligible during the pandemic;
- $771.1 million for the Department of Transitional Assistance to maintain support for families, at-risk parents, victims of intergenerational trauma, seniors, and persons with disabilities, and $30 million for Emergency Food Assistance;
- $22 million in direct appropriations for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) Program to promote housing stability and combat the threat of evictions, $148 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), and $84 million for public housing subsidies.
- $56.4 million for Homeless Individuals Shelters and $8 million for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth;
- $2.29 billion for the Department of Developmental Services, including $219.9 million for Day and Work programs, $84.9 million for Respite Family Supports, a $7 million investment in transportation services, and $23.4 million for head injury treatment services;
- $160 million for the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services, including support for the MA-Access to Recovery program and targeted investments in five additional recovery centers;
- $775 million investment in the Trial Court, $35 million for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, increases for Prisoners’ Legal Services and Mental Health Legal Advisors, $11.1 million for community-based re-entry programs, and $4 million in pre- and post-release services;
- $312.6 million in funding for environmental services, which includes increases for state parks, environmental protection, and the endangered species programs in addition to millions for hazardous waste site cleanups, river ways protection and access, and Clean Water Trust contract assistance;
- Large investments in labor and economic development, such as the creation of a trust fund dedicated to job training for the offshore wind industry to be administered by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
The House budget also makes the MEFA college savings tax deduction permanent, creates a commission to develop recommendations and best practices for responses to mental health emergencies, creates a new program to approve rural growth funds that would invest in small businesses in rural communities, eliminates the sunset on the Film Tax Credit, and increases the Conservation Land Tax Credit.
Speaker Ronald Mariano and the House Ways & Means Committee introduced their FY22 budget on April 14, 2021, following a review of the Governor’s proposal and a series of budget hearings. After three days of debate and considering more than a thousand proposed amendments, the budget was passed by the House of Representatives 160-0 and now goes to the Senate.