Thursday, August 6, 2015

Representative Roy: What's happening in the district - July-August 2015 newsletter

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FY16 budget passes, vetoes overridden

Last week, I joined my colleagues to take final action on the FY16 budget to enhance support for Massachusetts residents and municipalities, and ensure that local programs, education funding, and economic development initiatives are well funded by the legislature. With this budget the Legislature extended its track record of making responsible and innovative investments that will continue to move Massachusetts forward.

Through the FY16 budget, the Legislature advanced its standing as the national leader in education for students of all ages. Recognizing the importance of providing statewide access to full-day kindergarten the Legislature overrode a cut to kindergarten expansion grants, reaffirming its support for funding in the amount of $18.6 million. We also took action to emphasize our ongoing dedication to higher education, restoring cuts to the University of Massachusetts, state universities and community colleges.

Recognizing that education and economic development are intrinsically paired, the budget enhances the Legislature's focus on bolstering job opportunities for residents of all skillsets in diverse regions of the Commonwealth. Following action on the Administration's vetoes, the below programs are now funded:
  • MassCAN: $1.7 million to establish widespread, progressive computer science curriculum in public school through a public-private match program;
  • Talent Pipeline: $1.5 million to encourage young innovators to get a head start on their futures by matching stipends for interns at innovation start-ups, and to provide mentoring opportunities for new entrepreneurs;
  • STEM Starter Academy: $4.75 million to promote STEM careers at the Commonwealth's community colleges;
  • Mass Tech Collaborative: $750K for the Mass Tech Collaborative Tech and Innovation Entrepreneurship program to establish entrepreneur and startup mentoring.
Travel and tourism, one of the state's largest industries, provides an opportunity for communities to bolster their economies in a way which is unique and appropriate for each region. The Legislature restored $5.17 million in cuts to the Office of Travel and Tourism and $2.37 million to the Massachusetts Cultural Council.    

Local Aid is one of the biggest hurtles the Legislature has to overcome each budget season. In that vein, I am happy to report that the Legislature also included hundreds of thousands of dollars of additional local aide for Franklin and Medway as follows:
  • $50,000 to assist the Town of Franklin to construct a park which would include a statue of Horace Mann, the father of public education; 
  • $50,000 to assist the S.A.F.E. Community Coalition to combat the ongoing opioid crisis in the area;
  • $60,000 for Franklin and $60,000 for Medway to purchase and install solar powered school zone lights to address public safety concerns;
  • $44,000 for stormwater management oversight in the town of Medway;
  • $35,000 to improve emergency medical service response in open space locations in the town of Medway; and
  • $200,000 for for affordable housing in Medway.
As always, I thank you for he opportunity to serve and I urge you to contact me with any questions about the budget or any other matter.

Copyright © 2015 State Rep Jeff Roy, All rights reserved.
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