KINGSTON (April 30, 2021) – Representative Kathy LaNatra (D – Kingston) announced that the Massachusetts House of Representatives has passed their fiscal year 2022 (FY22) budget. The budget, funded at $47.716 billion, continues the State’s strong support of cities and towns in their recoveries from the effects of COVID-19, and includes significant investments in education, supportive services for vulnerable populations, and workforce and economic development, among other priorities.
Representative LaNatra worked hard to ensure that the 12th Plymouth District and the South Shore received adequate funding to continue to support its residents through this difficult time, as well as ensure that the district and the region continues to develop its economy, improve public safety, and support children, veterans, and those struggling with homelessness and food insecurity.
The following amendments were supported by Rep. LaNatra and adopted into the House FY22 budget:
• $100,000 for the Nathan Hale Veterans Outreach Center
• $25,000 for the Kingston Business Association to provide support to their members through grants
• $25,000 to the Plymouth Coalition for the Homeless
• $50,000 to conduct a market feasibility study for economic development in Plymouth County
• $1,700,000 for the Massachusetts Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs
• $40,000 for the Duxbury Fire Department for fire safety improvements
• $25,000 for the Town of Middleboro Police Department to implement measures intended to build positive relationships in the community
• $2,000,000 to be transferred to the Massachusetts Tourism Trust Fund established under section 13T of Chapter 23A of the General Laws
• $200,000 for the Massachusetts Partnership for Youth to provide training and workshops that address harmful behaviors for at-risk youth
• “This budget meets the needs of the 12th Plymouth District, the South Shore and the entire Commonwealth,” said Kathy LaNatra (D – Kingston). “This pandemic has been incredibly difficult, but it has highlighted issues that have impacted families all across Massachusetts for a long time. This budget is a great step towards solving systemic problems such as food insecurity, a lack of affordable housing, and adequate childcare. I want to thank Speaker Mariano and Chairman Michlewitz for their support of the 12th Plymouth District, as well as for so many crucial investments in education, food insecurity, small businesses, veterans, and health care that were made during this House budget debate.”
• 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 for a total of $1.168 billion and Chapter 70 education funding by $219.6 million over FY21 for a total of $5.503 billion, fully funding the first year of a six-year implementation plan of the Student Opportunity Act (SOA). Enacted in 2019 to support equitable funding for our most vulnerable students, the Legislature’s funding schedule ensures the SOA remains on track to be fully implemented over the course of seven years as opposed to the Governor’s budget proposal.
Additional education funding allocations include:
• $367 million for Special Education Circuit Breaker;
• $154 million for Charter School Aid;
• $82 million for Regional Transportation; and
• $14 million for Homeless Student Transportation.
Continuing the House’s commitment to high-quality early education and care (EEC), the FY22 budget includes a $20 million investment in rate increases for child care providers across Massachusetts.
Other early education and care funding initiatives include:
• $15 million for Head Start grants;
• $12 million for child care resource and referral agencies;
• $5 million for EEC higher education provider opportunities; and
• $2.5 million for early childhood mental health grants.
Building on Speaker Mariano’s priority to ensure Massachusetts residents from diverse backgrounds have access to meaningful educational opportunities, the House budget invests in higher education allocating $571 million for the University of Massachusetts system, $315 million for community colleges, and $291 million for state universities. The budget also includes a $10 million increase in scholarship funding over last fiscal year for a new total of $130 million, and funds the community colleges SUCCESS Fund at $10.5 million and the STEM Starter Academy at $4.75 million.
The budget also includes 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. This budget makes an initial deposit into this fund of $10 million to establish and grow technical training programs in our public higher education system and vocational-technical institutions. The fund will also prioritize grants and scholarships to adult learning providers, labor organizations, and public educational institutions to provide workers with greater access to these trainings.
Additional investments include:
• $50 million for adult education;
• $24 million for Youthworks Summer Jobs;
• $5 million for Small Business Technical Assistance;
• $5 million for Community Action Agency Operating and Outreach Support;
• $5 million investment in Local Tourism Recovery Marketing;
• $2.5 million for Urban Agenda Grants; and
• $2 million investment in Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
The Commonwealth’s commitment to MassHealth remains one of the largest drivers of the budget. In FY22 the House provides $18.969 billion to fully fund its caseload, which has increased as more residents became eligible during the pandemic.
The House’s FY22 budget accurately reflects this enrollment growth, showing the necessary increase in spending beyond what was included in the Governor’s budget proposal, while also factoring in the increased Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) reimbursement levels.
Many of the House FY22 budget’s most significant increases represent essential services and programs that serve Massachusetts’ most vulnerable residents, including $771.1 million for the Department of Transitional Assistance to maintain support to families, at-risk parents, victims of intergenerational trauma, seniors, and persons with disabilities. Other notable health and human services investments include $30 million for Emergency Food Assistance, $13 million for Healthy Incentives Program, and $500,000 for a public awareness campaign on the contraceptive ACCESS Law.
The House’s FY22 budget also includes funding for housing and homelessness prevention, investing $22 million in direct appropriations for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) Program to promote housing stability and combat the threat of evictions. The budget also includes $148 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) and $84 million for public housing subsidies.
Additional investments for individuals and youth include:
$56.4 million for Homeless Individuals Shelters;
$12.5 million for the Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP);
$12 million for Rental Subsidies for eligible DMH Clients; and
$8 million for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth.
The budget funds the Department of Developmental Services at $2.29 billion, aimed to support individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. It includes $219.9 million for Day and Work programs; $84.9 million for Respite Family Supports; a $55.4 million increase for DDS’ Turning 22 class; a $7 million investment in transportation services; and $23.4 million for head injury treatment services.
Reflecting the Legislature’s strong commitment to providing access to care and treatment for individuals with a substance use disorder, the budget allocates $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. The budget also provides funding for low-threshold housing for people experiencing homelessness, mental health disorders and at risk for HIV; outpatient and mobile services for persons with disabilities; and treatment at correctional facilities.
In an effort to ensure every resident has equal access to the criminal justice system, the House’s FY22 budget includes a $775 million investment in the Trial Court; $35 million for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation,; and increases for Prisoners’ Legal Services and Mental Health Legal Advisors. The budget also renews commitments made by the state’s criminal justice reform, such as $11.1 million for community-based re-entry programs, and $4 million in pre- and post-release services.
The budget also continues the House’s focus on environmental and climate protection by including $312.6 million in funding for environmental services, which includes increases for state parks, environmental protection, and the endangered species programs. Additional investments include millions for hazardous waste site cleanups, river ways protection and access, and Clean Water Trust contract assistance.
The House budget makes the MEFA college savings tax deduction permanent, creates a commission to develop recommendations and best practices for responses to mental health emergencies, and creates a new program to approve rural growth funds that would invest in small businesses in rural communities. It also eliminates the sunset on the Film Tax Credit and increases the Conservation Land Tax Credit.
The House Ways & Means Committee, which Rep. LaNatra sits on, introduced their FY22 budget on April 14, 2021, following a review of the Governor’s proposal and a series of budget hearings.
After a three days of debate and over a thousand proposed amendments, the budget passed by the House of Representatives 160-0 and now goes to the Senate.