The House Budget for FY 2015: Analysis of Amendments Adopted During Debate
During three days of budget debate the House made only modest changes to the budget put forward by the Ways and Means Committee. These changes are detailed in our full Budget Monitor. Overall, the House added $143.9 million in amendments, about a third of one percent of the budget. The final House budget, like the Governor's proposal, makes incremental efforts to address major challenges, but does not make the type of substantial progress in expanding opportunity in all of our communities that could be achieved with new revenue invested effectively.
The House adopted amendments affecting most areas of the budget, including the following:
Child Welfare received an additional $7.7 million in funding, mostly to support the hiring of additional social workers. This should allow reductions in the number of cases each worker needs to manage and therefore increase the department's capacity to protect vulnerable children. This is a step forward. But it is only one of many steps that would be needed to support all of our families in crisis, protect all of our vulnerable children, and give them the opportunity to thrive. The final funding level in the House is essentially the same as that proposed by the Governor in January.
Youth Jobs and related programs received $6.2 million in increased funding during floor debate. The total funding level for these programs in the final House budget, however, remains $7.7 million below current funding levels.
MassHealth received an additional $44 million during floor debate, directed to increasing reimbursement for the state's safety net hospitals that serve large numbers of low-income patients, and for nursing homes. The federal government will reimburse Massachusetts for half of this total.
For detail on the most significant changes between the Ways and Means budget proposal and the final House version, please read our full Budget Monitor HERE.
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.