Senate President Spilka: I'm so proud of the Senate's FY24 budget
Features universal free community college by fall 2024
Special Budget Update
Last week, the Senate overwhelmingly approved our Fiscal Year 2024 budget.
It's a great budget.
The funding and initiatives it contains will propel Massachusetts forward through expanded opportunities, and help us boldly face the future with our Commonwealth's unique brand of courageous competitiveness, which balances the need for economic fundamentals with our commitment to our highest values.
I am so proud that the Senate voted resoundingly for a transformative budget built on the simple principle that our success as a Commonwealth is tied to the success of every single person who calls Massachusetts home.
Massachusetts will be competitive so long as people from all over the world can come here to fulfill their dreams – whether by going back to school, advancing their career, starting a business, or finding affordable housing and child care to raise a family.
At a time when our world-class educational institutions are more needed now than ever, this budget adds a new chapter in Massachusetts' storied tradition of making education accessible to all through our expanded Student Opportunity Plan.
I want to thank Chair Rodrigues, Vice Chair Friedman, Assistant Vice Chair Comerford, the Senate Ways & Means Committee and all my Senate colleagues for their thoughtful and collaborative work on this budget.
As always, my office is available if you need assistance or wish to share your opinion. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org call 617-722-1500.
The Massachusetts Senate approved on Thursday a $55.9 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24). Following a robust, spirited, and engaging debate process, the Senate approved 478 amendments, adding $82.2 million in spending to the budget.
As the Commonwealth continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Senate's budget prioritizes upholding fiscal discipline and responsibility and supports the long-term economic health of the state.
The Senate budget delivers historic levels of investment in education, housing, regional transportation, health care, workforce development, climate preparedness, and much more, while centering equity and opportunity as part of a broader, more comprehensive strategy to make Massachusetts more affordable, inclusive, and competitive. LEARN MORE
Fair Share Revenue
Consistent with the consensus revenue agreement reached with the Administration and House in January, the Senate's FY24 budget includes $1 billion in revenues generated from the Fair Share ballot initiative voters approved in November 2022, which established a new surtax of 4 per cent on annual income above $1 million and invests these new public dollars to improve the state's education and transportation sectors.
To safeguard this new source of revenue, the Senate's FY24 budget also establishes an Education and Transportation Fund to account for these Fair Share funds in an open and transparent manner. This will ensure the public is visibly informed about how much revenue is collected from the new surtax and how much of this revenue is being dedicated to improving public education and transportation systems in accordance with the ballot initiative. LEARN MORE
The Senate Ways and Means FY24 budget proposal takes the first step toward implementing the Senate's Student Opportunity Plan by making high-quality education more accessible and by making record investments to support students across the full breadth of the Commonwealth's education system, from Massachusetts' youngest learners to adults re-entering higher education.
Recognizing that investments in our early education and care system support the underlying economic competitiveness of the Commonwealth, the Senate's budget makes a historic $1.5 billion investment in early education and care. This is the largest-ever proposed annual appropriation for early education and care in Massachusetts history. For context, this area of the budget has increased by more than 77 percent (more than $660 million) over the budget from three fiscal years prior. The FY24 budget will maintain operational support for providers, support the early education and care workforce, and prioritize accessibility and affordability throughout our early education and care system.
Notably, this will be the first fiscal year in which the annual state budget includes a full year of funding for C3 grants, signaling a historic commitment to maintain this crucial lifeline for our early education and care sector. Funded at $475 million, this program, which is open to all early education and care providers, provides monthly payments to programs throughout Massachusetts. These grants, which are received by 88% of early education and care programs in the Commonwealth, have empowered programs to raise salaries, to hire additional staff, to maintain their enrollment levels, and to avoid tuition increases. Without the continuation of these grants, 751 providers (which serve over 15,000 children) have indicated that they would have to close their doors.
Other notable funding includes:
$45 million for the center-based childcare rate reserve for reimbursement rates for subsidized care, including:
$20 million in line-item appropriations, and
$25 million in expected leftover funds from Fiscal Year 2023
$30 million for the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative, which empowers school districts to expand prekindergarten and preschool opportunities through public-private partnerships. This is double the amount that was appropriated for this initiative in FY23.
$25 million in new funding to reduce the waiting list for income-eligible child care assistance program, which will create approximately 2,200 new slots for children
$25 million in new funding for capital investments in early education and care programs to build capacity and ensure the ability of programs to safely accommodate additional slots
$17.5 million for grants to Head Start programs, which provide crucial early education and child care services to low-income families
$15 million, an increase of $5 million over FY23, to assist early education and care staff members with paying for their own personal child care
$10 million for professional development and higher education opportunities for early educators, to assist with recruitment and retention challenges in the workforce
$5 million, an increase of $1.5 million over FY23, for mental health consultation services in early education and care programs
In addition to these appropriations, the Fiscal Year 2024 budget includes a policy section that will allow subsidized early education and care programs to provide child care discounts to their own staff members.
For K-12 education, the Senate commits once again to fully funding and implementing the Student Opportunity Act (SOA) by FY 2027, investing $6.59 billion in Chapter 70 funding, an increase of $604 million over FY 2023, as well as doubling minimum Chapter 70 aid from $30 to $60 per pupil. This investment ensures that the state remains on schedule to fully implement the Student Opportunity Act by FY2027 and ensures that all school districts are equipped with the resources to deliver high quality educational opportunities to their students.
In addition to these record investments in early education and public K-12 education, the Committee's budget expands pathways to affordable public higher education for all by building capacity for free community college for all students in Fall 2024. Laying the groundwork for this momentous change to make higher education more accessible, the Senate budget includes $275 million for the scholarship reserve, $55 million to accelerate and build up capacity to support free community college across all campuses by fall of 2024, and $40 million for free community college programs for students aged 25 or older and for students pursuing degrees in nursing starting in the fall of 2023, thereby addressing a critical need felt across the state.
The Committee's budget also welcomes students regardless of their race, national origin, citizenship, or immigration status, making clear that all high school students who attend for three years and graduate from a Massachusetts high school are eligible to receive in-state tuition at our public institutions of higher education. LEARN MORE
There is so much more in the Senate's FY budget...