Legislature Passes American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA),
FY21 Surplus Spending Bill
December 3, 2021 Press Release
(BOSTON–12/03/2021) Today, the Massachusetts Legislature advanced a $4 billion bill to the governor’s desk that directs federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) surplus funding to assist the Commonwealth’s ongoing economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. With a focus on making equitable investments and prioritizing communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, the legislation delivers targeted supports to workers and businesses, and the critical sectors of housing, health care, mental and behavioral health, climate preparedness, education, and workforce development.
“The one-time investments made in this bill address evident needs across all Massachusetts communities and sectors of the economy, particularly those who were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy). “The Legislature engaged in a hearing process before appropriation, and informed by the public’s feedback, this bill will help the Massachusetts economy strongly recover. I thank chairs Michlewitz and Hunt, members of the House, Senate President Spilka and our partners in the Senate, as well as all stakeholders and residents for their input throughout this process.”
"While the Commonwealth’s history of saving for a rainy day allowed us to hold steady during the immediate shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, the road to full economic recovery will be long,” stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “Rather than going ‘back to normal,’ to an inequitable status quo, the Senate was intentional in using both our American Rescue Plan and Fiscal Year 2021 surplus funds for transformational change to allow us to go ‘back to better.’ The plan passed today sets forth bold investments in housing production, public health, small business and workforce development, climate change mitigation, and many more areas, all while ensuring that the benefits are distributed equitably in every community across our state. I am particularly proud of the significant investments we have made in our mental health care system that will begin to address the growing need for access to care across the Commonwealth. with the goal of transforming the delivery of mental health care in our state—a need felt in every corner of our Commonwealth. I am grateful for the many contributions from my colleagues in the Senate, Speaker Mariano and our partners in the House, and the many members of the public who provided input to shape this first phase of implementation of the American Rescue Plan in Massachusetts.”
Earlier this year, the Massachusetts Legislature voted to transfer the state’s $4.8 billion allocation from ARPA, which must be allocated by 2024, into a separate fund to ensure stakeholder and resident engagement in a public process. Following six public hearings and more than a thousand pieces of testimony received, the House’s and Senate’s spending proposals were unanimously approved by each chamber, resulting in the comprise bill which advances to the Governor’s desk today. This bill utilizes $2.55 billion in ARPA funds and $1.45 billion in FY21 surplus funds.