Sunday, May 28, 2017

Senator Spilka: FY 2018 Senate Budget Debate Wrap Up


Since our founding, the term Commonwealth - 'common wealth' - has served to remind us that each of us is invested in preserving our common good; that our fortunes rise and fall together.

In the context of the Senate budget, our common wealth of course refers to dollars and cents. But it also signifies so much more.

Our true common wealth is our people. And we can sustain it, even in tough times, by focusing on the fundamentals: education, health, and housing.

I am pleased to present this update on the Senate's Fiscal Year 2018 budget, passed by the full Senate on Thursday, May 25, 2017.
Education has always been Massachusetts' lodestar. We place our faith in public education as our greatest equalizer and catalyst for success.  The final Senate budget directs funding to high quality education for everyone, including: 
  • $4.76 billion in Chapter 70 funding
  • $15 million to expand access to high quality preschool
  • $10 million to boost salaries for early educators
  • $1 billion for higher education
  • $3.7 million for after-school and out-of-school programs
  • $294 million to fully fund the Special Education Circuit Breaker
We believe we can proactively tackle the issue of rising health care costs while continuing to encourage the adoption of innovative, evidence-based practices that will make all of us healthier and more productive. Our budget includes:

  • A number of health care cost savings initiatives
  • $24 million to fully fund the Turning 22 program
  • $31 million for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment
  • $144 million for substance abuse prevention & treatment
  • $91.6 million for mental health services for children
  • $13 million for Family Resource Centers
  • $3.5 million to encourage collaboration among agencies, schools and community partners to strengthen programming for early detection and screening for mental illness in children
There can be no security for individuals and families without access to reliable housing. We believe that our investments to prevent homelessness support best practices in putting individuals and families on the path towards stability:

  • $166 million for Emergency Assistance Family Shelters
  • $100 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program, providing funding for 350 to 400 new rental assistance vouchers
  • $46 million for assistance for homeless individuals
  • $32 million for the HomeBASE rapid re-housing program
  • $18.5 million for RAFT, providing short-term financial assistance to low income families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
  • $5.5 million for the Alternative Housing Voucher Program 
  • $2.5 million for housing and supportive services for unaccompanied homeless youth
The budget continues the Senate's strong partnership with municipalities in directing significant investments to local aid and community services.
  • $1.06B for Unrestricted General Government Aid to support community investments in education, health care, public safety and roads and bridges
  • $83M for Regional Transit Authorities
  • $26.7M for the Board of Library Commissioners, including $10.4M for regional library local aid, $9.8M for municipal libraries and $2.3M for technology and automated resources
  • $16.5M for the Massachusetts Cultural Council to support the state-wide creative economy and local arts and culture
  • $14.2M for local Councils on Aging to strengthen programs and services in senior centers
For more information on the Senate budget, including additional investments, please see the links below or contact my Senate office at (617) 722-1640.
Important FY 2018 Budget Links

Metrowest Daily News: 5 takeaways from the Senate Ways and Means budget
Office of State Senator Karen E. Spilka
Room 212, State House
Boston, Massachusetts  02133

Senator Karen E. Spilka, Massachusetts State House, Room 212, Boston, MA 02133

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