FY22 Senate Budget Highlights

The Massachusetts State Senate on Thursday unanimously passed a $47.7 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22), after adding $63.7 million in targeted investments over the course of three days of robust deliberations. Approved with unanimous bipartisan support, the budget maintains fiscal responsibility and recommends targeted investments to address emerging needs, safeguard the health and wellness of the most vulnerable populations and ensure residents will benefit equitably as the state recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Education investments include:

 

  • $5.503 billion for Chapter 70 education funding

  • $387.9 million for the Special Education Circuit Breaker

  • $149.1 million to reimburse public school districts for costs incurred when students leave to attend charter schools

  • $78.6 million to reimburse school districts for regional school transportation costs, after adding $1 million during debate

  • $571.2 million for the University of Massachusetts, $321.7 million for the fifteen community colleges, and $298.1 million for the nine state universities

  • $40 million reserve to provide additional aid to districts experiencing increases in student enrollment compared to October 2020

  • $27.9 million for METCO grants to cities, towns and regional school districts, after adding $1.3 million during debate

  • $15 million for grants to the Head Start program to maintain access to early education services for low-income families

  • $10 million for the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative to expand access to pre-kindergarten and preschool opportunities in underserved areas

  • $9 million for a reserve to cover parent fees for families receiving subsidized childcare through the end of calendar year 2021

  • $6 million for Dual Enrollment and $5 million for Early College Programs, more than doubling our commitment to these programs that provide high school students with better opportunities for post-graduate success

  • $5 million for Social Emotional Learning Grants to help K-12 schools bolster social emotional learning supports for students, and $1 million for a new pilot program to provide mental health screenings for K-12 students

  • $4 million for rural school assistance, after adding $1 million during debate

  • $2 million for grants offered through the Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative to support high school students with intellectual disabilities ages 18–22 with access to higher education opportunities

  • $600,000, added during debate, for innovation pathway programs to create partnerships with employers to provide students with experience in specific high-demand industries, such as information technology, engineering, healthcare, life sciences and advanced manufacturing

 

Health investments include:

 

  • $507.5 million for Adult Support Services, including assisted outpatient programming and comprehensive care coordination among health care providers

  • $175.3 million for a complete range of substance use disorder treatment and intervention services

  • $97.1 million for children’s mental health services

  • $50.3 million for domestic violence prevention services

  • $39 million for early intervention services, to ensure supports are accessible and available to infants and young toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities, including funds to support health equity initiatives, after adding $1 million during debate

  • $23 million for Family Resource Centers to improve and expand access to resources and programming for families

  • $13 million

  • $12.3M for the Shannon Grants gang violence prevention and intervention program, after adding $1 million during debate

  • $10.5M for the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI), after adding $500,000 during debate

  • $10 million to recapitalize the Behavioral Health, Access, Outreach and Support Trust Fund to support targeted behavioral health initiatives, including $5 million for loan forgiveness for mental health clinicians, $3 million of which is for child and adolescent psychiatrists, $1 million for public awareness campaigns, $3.5 million for student access to telebehavioral health services in schools, and $500,000 to enhance the mental health workforce pipeline

  • $10 million for new grants to create Programs of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) in each of the six executive office of health and human services regions of the Commonwealth to provide intensive community-based wraparound services to children and adolescents with serious mental and behavioral health needs

  • $5.6 million for smoking prevention and cessation programs, after adding $1 million during debate

  • $3.9 million for the Office of the Child Advocate, including $1 million for the establishment and operation of a state center on child wellness and trauma

  • $2.5 million for Children Advocacy Centers to improve the critical supports available to children that have been neglected or sexually abused

  • $2 million for veterans’ mental and behavioral health supports through Mass General’s Home Base Program.

  • $600K for the women veterans’ outreach program, after adding $500K on the floor to expand the program

  • $500,000, during debate, for a contraceptive access public awareness campaign to promote awareness of a 2017 law which gives an individual access to 12-month prescription of co-pay free birth control.

 

Opportunity investments include:

 

  • $50 million for adult basic education services to improve access to skills necessary to join the workforce

  • $30 million for the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program

  • $23 million for summer jobs and work-readiness training for at-risk youth

  • $18 million in Healthy Incentives Programs to ensure vulnerable households have continued access to food options during the pandemic

  • $15 million for a Community Empowerment and Reinvestment grant program to provide economic supports to communities disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system

  • $10 million for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund to connect unemployed and under-employed workers with higher paying jobs

  • $8.5 million for Career Technical Institutes to increase our skilled worker population and provide residents access to career technical training opportunities.

  • $6 million for Regional Economic Development Organizations to support economic growth in every region

  • $5 million for Community Foundations to provide emergency economic relief to historically underserved populations

  • $4 million for the Secure Jobs Connect program, providing job placement resources and assistance for homeless individuals

  • $2.5 million for the Massachusetts Cybersecurity Innovation Fund, including $1.5 million for new regional security operation centers which will partner with community colleges and state universities to provide cybersecurity workforce training to students and cybersecurity services to municipalities, non-profits, and small businesses

  • $2 million for the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership

  • $1.5 million for nonprofit security grant program, after adding $500,000 during debate

  • $1 million for employment programs for young adults with disabilities

 

In addition to investments that support an equitable recovery and opportunity for all, the Senate’s budget addresses the increasing costs of caregiving for low-income families by converting existing tax deductions for children under 12, dependent adults and business-related dependent care expenses into refundable tax credits. Coupled with the expanded Child Tax Credit and the Child and Dependent Care tax credits under the federal American Rescue Plan Act, the Senate’s child tax credit will help to lift 85,000 families out of poverty and support low-income working parents.

 

Additionally, the Senate’s budget builds on the success of last year’s efforts to tackle ‘deep poverty’ with a 20 per cent increase to Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) and Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC) benefits over December 2020 levels, ensuring families receive the economic supports they need to live, work and provide stability for their children.

 

Over a year into the pandemic, the role that access to affordable housing has played in our economic recovery is clear. Recognizing this, the Senate’s budget invests $572 million in housing and homelessness services. In addition to the more than $800 million in federal resources made available to support housing stability efforts, the Senate’s investment will help to keep families in their homes and support tenants and property owners during this uniquely challenging time.

 

Housing investments include:

 

  • $195.9 million for Emergency Assistance Family Shelters, including funds to create an independent ombudsman’s office to act as a mediator and advocate for households applying to or residing in family shelters

  • $150 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), including $20 million in unspent funds carried forward from FY 2021, and recommended changes to the program to cap the share of a household’s income paid towards rent at 30 per cent

  • $85 million for assistance to local housing authorities

  • $16.3 million for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), in addition to $350 million in federal emergency rental assistance, and including changes to the RAFT program, adopted through the amendment process, to extend the maximum amount of rental assistance of $10,000 until December 31, 2021, and then maintain the maximum amount of rental assistance at $7,000 through the end of FY 2022, which support households in need during this recovery and helps us avoid sudden changes in benefit levels

  • $56.4 million for assistance for homeless individuals

  • $14.2 million for the Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP) providing rental assistance to people with disabilities, including $5.5 million in unspent funds carried forward from FY 2021, and $2.5 million for grants to improve or create accessible affordable housing units

  • $8 million for the Housing Consumer Education Centers (HCECs).

  • $8 million for assistance for unaccompanied homeless youth

  • $3.9 million for the Home and Healthy for Good re-housing and supportive services program, including $250,000 for homeless LGBTQQ youth

 

The Senate’s budget reflects the Senate’s unwavering support for cities and towns and provides a significant amount of local and regional aid to ensure communities can continue to provide essential services to the public while addressing local impacts caused by the pandemic. This includes $1.168 billion in funding for Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA), consistent with the March local aid agreement, to support local level investments and provide predictability for municipalities. In addition to traditional sources of local aid, the Committee’s budget increases payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) for state-owned land to $35 million. PILOT funding is a vital source of supplemental local aid for cities and towns working to protect and improve access to essential services and programs during recovery from the pandemic.

 

Local investments include:

 

  • $94 million for Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) to support regional public transportation system as a public good necessary to helping commuters, students, seniors and people with disabilities and supporting economic mobility

  • $36 million for libraries, including $13.5 million for regional library local aid, $13 million for municipal libraries

  • $20 million for the Massachusetts Cultural Council to support local arts, culture and creative economy initiatives

  • $2 million in additional grants for local tourism around the state