Saturday, April 21, 2018

MassBudget: House Ways and Means budget proposal adds funding to early ed, rental voucher program

With the Franklin budget cycle fully underway, keeping track of what is happening at the State level is important as approx 25% of the Franklin budget is funded by money from the State.

MassBudget  Information.
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center  Democracy.

April 19, 2018

HWM FY 2019 budget proposal adds funding to early education, rental voucher program

The House Ways and Means (HWM) Committee's Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget proposal largely aligns with the Governor's proposal, but differs in a number of areas.

The MassBudget's latest Budget Monitor finds the HWM Committee's budget proposal provides additional funding in:
  • Early Education and Care. The HWM budget provides $20.0 million for Center-Based Child Care Rate Increases to improve early education quality by increasing the rates paid by the state to child care providers. That funding should aid in increasing salary, benefits, and professional development for early educators. The HWM Committee also proposes $8.5 million for a new initiative focused on professional development for early educators facilitated by Massachusetts community colleges.
  • K-12 Education.This budget provides $33.5 million more in Chapter 70 Aid (and related reserves) than the Governor proposed. In addition, it funds grant programs at $20.8 million more than the Governor recommended. This includes an added $9.5 million for charter school reimbursements and $8.9 million more for special education costs.
  • Housing. This budget proposal would increase funding for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) to $100.0 million, which is $7.3 million more than FY 2018. MRVP provides housing vouchers to help low-income families, including those living in emergency assistance shelters, secure housing.
  • MassHealth. To reduce costs to the state, the Governor proposed moving 140,000 low-income adults off MassHealth coverage and into subsidized commercial coverage funded through the Commonwealth Care Trust Fund and the Health Connector. The Administration had also proposed reforming coverage and pricing for pharmaceutical drugs. The HWM budget does not include these proposals.
Without any significant revenue sources beyond those in the Governor's budget, the HWM budget funds these differences largely by underfunding various accounts - such as for the removal of snow and ice from state roads - that likely need to be funded eventually. This risks leading to challenges maintaining a balanced budget during the upcoming fiscal year.

One new initiative on which the Governor and the HWM Committee agree is the expansion of the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC raises the incomes of lower wage working families and has been found to improve long term education and health outcomes for children in those households.

The rest of this Budget Monitor examines the HWM budget proposals for major state programs in greater detail, comparing them to the Governor's proposals and to the amounts budgeted in FY 2018. As noted above, the FY 2018 budget appropriated less than is expected to be spent in several accounts. A supplemental budget was recently approved by the House (and is now pending in the Senate) that provides additional funding for those accounts and others. When particularly relevant, we include those projected spending levels in the analysis as well. Links from the Table of Contents below allow readers to jump to specific sections. Each section provides links to our online budget tools including our Budget Browser (which provides funding information for every account in the state budget going back to FY 2001) and, where applicable, to our Children's Budget.

Read the full report 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.

BOSTON, MA 02108

Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, 15 Court Square, Suite 700, Boston, MA 02108

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one effect of the drop in early education funding is the loss of the Kindergarten grant that Franklin used to provide aids in the K classrooms
one effect of the drop in early education funding is the loss of the Kindergarten grant that Franklin used to provide teacher aides in the K classrooms

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