Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Senator Spilka: Joint Statement on FY16 Budget Conference Report

The Conference Committee has reached an agreement and filed a report to resolve the differences between the House and Senate versions of the fiscal year 2016 budget. The agreement appropriates $38.14B in state spending. The Conference Report also includes language preventing the use of state funds or tax expenditures for the 2024 Olympics, the creation of a finance control board and a 3 year suspension, for the MBTA, of the statute that governs the privatization of the functions of state entities, an increase to 23% for the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) effective January 1, 2016 and no changes to the income tax. 
“I am proud that this budget begins the process of bringing meaningful reforms to the MBTA, to ensure that the system failures brought on by the storms during the winter of 2015 will not be repeated,” said Representative Brian S. Dempsey (D- Haverhill, Chairman House Committee on Ways and Means). “I would also like to highlight that this budget found a way to prioritize funding to make significant investments to protect and expand services for some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens especially clients of the Department of Developmental Services and the Department of Mental Health.” 
“This report is a reflection of the priorities of both the House and Senate and while we may be a few days into the new fiscal year, it demonstrates our ability to work together on complex issues to reach the compromises needed for results,” added Dempsey. “I would like to congratulate my fellow conferees Representatives Kulik and Smola and Senators DiDomenico and deMacedo for their hard work on the Conference Committee. I would also like to extend an additional thank you and congratulations to my co-chair Senator Karen Spilka on the successful completion on her first budget conference committee as Chair of Senate Ways and Means.” 
“I am pleased that we have reached an agreement on a final budget that lays the foundation for shared prosperity and economic growth,” said Senate Committee on Ways and Means Chair Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “This budget is terrific news for Massachusetts families. I’m especially proud of the increase to the Earned Income Tax Credit, an incredibly effective way to lift working families out of poverty and a step toward addressing income inequality in our communities. "
"We strengthen pathways to educational opportunity at all levels, from early education to K-12 to college to workforce development. The budget also invests significantly in homelessness prevention, initiatives to tackle the opioid addiction crisis and innovative ways to increase access to justice. To improve public transit we have given Governor Baker the tools he needs to get the MBTA back on track. We have protected riders from excessive fare increases and kept our commitment to financial investments in the T.” 
“Thank you to Senator DiDomenico, Senator deMacedo, Representative Kulik and Representative Smola for your hard work and assistance throughout this process. Thank you also to my House counterpart Chairman Dempsey for his partnership in creating a budget that reflects the priorities of both chambers. My goal when I became Chair of Senate Ways and Means this year was to lift all families through the budget process. This final budget accomplishes that goal,” said Spilka.

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