Victim In Fatal Quincy Shooting Identified

By SCOTT JACKSON

Investigators have identified the man who was fatally shot at a Quincy apartment building early Thursday morning.

The Norfolk District Attorney’s Office and Quincy police identified the victim of the shooting as Jordan Wiggins, age 32. Wiggins was a resident of the apartment building at 5 Crown Dr., where the fatal shooting took place.

“The matter remains under active investigation by Quincy and Massachusetts State Police detectives. No additional release of information is anticipated this evening,” officials said in a statement just after 4 p.m. on Thursday.

“The Quincy Police and Norfolk District Attorney’s office extend our condolences to Mr. Wiggins’ family and loved ones.”

The Quincy Police Department was called to the area of 5 Crown Dr. around 12:40 a.m. on Thursday, officials said in an earlier statement. The building is within the Elevation apartment complex at Crown Colony.

The officers who responded to the scene encountered the victim, Wiggins, with obvious gunshot wounds in the area of the stairwell leading from the apartment building’s parking area to the residences, the statement said. He was taken to an area hospital for emergency treatment but did not survive.

Quincy and State Police worked through the night probing the shooting and conducting interviews. State Police Crime Scene Services Section responded to process the scene for any potential forensic evidence. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner may conduct an autopsy of the victim as soon as Thursday.

Investigators said they do not believe there is any ongoing threat to neighbors in the area.

Pops Concert Sept. 3 At Hancock-Adams Common

Mayor Thomas P. Koch and the City of Quincy invite the community to enjoy an evening of music and song on Saturday, Sept. 3 for a combined Pops Concert by The Quincy Choral Society and Quincy Symphony Orchestra. The concert will begin at 4 p.m. at Hancock-Adams Common, Quincy Center.

“We are so fortunate to have such a tremendous caliber of talented singers and musicians in our community,” said Mayor Thomas Koch. “We welcome everyone to appreciate the artistry of the Quincy Symphony Orchestra & Quincy Choral Society on what we hope to be a beautiful early September evening on the Hancock Adams Common.”

Cabaret tables and chairs along with theatre seating will be available. Lawn chairs are allowed. Beer and wine can be purchased from Hive Mobile Bar.

Quincy Comedy Festival Back For Second Season At Marriott Boston/Quincy

By JOHN McDONALD

Live comedy shows are back for a second season at the Marriott Boston/Quincy with two performances scheduled for Aug. 20, at 7  and 9:30 p.m. The shows are presented by JM Productions, Jim McCue’s Comedy Club, and the team of the Boston Comedy Festival.

Opening the season are award-winning Kelly MacFarland from NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Casey Crawford recently seen on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Will Smalley a Boston Comedy Festival favorite.

In February of 2022 JM Productions, The Marriott Boston/Quincy partnered with JM Productions & The Boston Comedy Fest to bring an evening of side-splitting comedy to Quincy. The first comedy event cemented the relationship between the three companies. The combined goal is to offer a full complement of national and international comedians at The Marriott for our “Annual Quincy Comedy Fest.”

“To achieve that goal, we strive to build our audiences with smaller more intimate shows throughout the calendar year featuring tops notch New England comedians who will headline the shows,” said John McDonald of JM Productions. “We have decided to offer an early and late show for each date to accommodate our diverse audiences looking for a full evening of entertainment and meal options.

“The Marriott graciously offers discounts for food options pre and post show in their Hull and Mason restaurant as well as discounts to stay overnight if you want to make the experience extra special for you and your group or loved ones! Think ‘girls’ weekend or bachelor’s or bachelorette parties or birthday celebrations.”

The Lineup:

As an experienced stand-up comedian, Kelly MacFarland has an extensive and well-rounded resume including comedy clubs, theaters, colleges, festivals, television appearances and entertaining US troops overseas. Kelly was first runner up in the Boston Comedy Festival and voted Best of the Fest at the Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festival. She has performed at the Oddball Comedy Festival, the Comedy Stage at Boston Calling Music Festival, Lucille Ball Comedy Festival – National Comedy Center and has been a featured headliner for the Boston Women in Comedy Festival since inception. Kelly has appeared on Stand Up in Stilettos on the TV Guide Channel, The Today Show, The View, Comedy Central, NBC’s Last Comic Standing and AXS Gotham Comedy LIVE. Kelly won first place in the professional category of the 2016 Ladies of Laughter.

Casey Crawford is an absurdist comedian who tells short jokes loosely based on his dumb life. From growing up poor in rural South Dakota, to struggling in New York City, to his current life in New England and his weird marriage, Crawford narrates his underdog life through one-liners. Crawford is a joke Jedi. His unique perspective put into terse, well-crafted one-liners mixes traditionalism with absurdism and makes him a crowd favorite. Casey was a new face at Montreal’s “Just for Laughs” in 2016. He made his television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live in 2017 and he regularly performs at the Comedy Studio in Boston MA.

Will Smalley: With more than 10 years behind him in the comedy game, Smalley has made a name for himself by doing more than just your normal stand-up sets. He has launched and taken on projects with his fellow comedy comrades, like Old School Game Show and Surprise Party Comedy at The Wilbur Theatre and has turned them into must-see events, by curating experiences that he hopes audiences will not soon forget. As for his stand-up material, Smalley is way more interested in bringing unique experiences and elements of his comedy to audiences in new ways, rather than add to the plethora of content already out in the ether.

The Brockton native is an established LGBTQ+ voice in the comedy scene. Will is a former finalist in the Boston Comedy Festival and has been featured in the Bridgetown Comedy Festival in Portland, OR in addition to being a mainstay at the major comedy clubs and colleges across the Northeast.

For tickets visit www.ticketstothecity.com/jm

Body Found Near Furnace Brook Parkway; Foul Play Not Suspected

By SCOTT JACKSON

Foul play is not suspected in the death of a man whose body was found near a walking trail in the vicinity of Furnace Brook Parkway.

The man’s body was found near a walking trail across from 134 Furnace Brook Parkway at approximately 5:40 p.m. on Aug. 4, according to David Traub, the spokesperson for the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office.

Quincy and State Police responded to the scene, as did the Quincy Fire Department. The man, who was in his 60s, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Traub said foul play is not suspected in the man’s death and said the individual was known to authorities.

Sewer Overflow Reported On Perry Road; No Risk To Public Health, Safety

A sanitary sewer overflow was reported on Perry Road in Wollaston on Thursday.

The overflow was reported at 20 Perry Rd., according to an email sent by the city’s Department of Public Works on Friday afternoon. The overflow was listed as ongoing as of then, with about 50 gallons of sewage being released per day.

According to City Engineer Paul Costello, there was a very small sewer pipe leak that has been cleaned up and is being self-contained on Perry Street until the pipe can be permanently repaired in the near future.

“There is no risk to public health and safety,” Costello said.

According to the DPW website, “A sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) is an unintentional discharge, spill or release of untreated sewage into the environment or a property. SSOs are also known as sewer backups and the resulting flooding can cause damage to a property and pollute the environment. Raw sewage is dangerous because it contains bacteria and other hazardous microorganisms. Touching or walking through contaminated areas can bring germs into uncontaminated areas of your home. Children and pets are especially vulnerable.”

Supreme Judicial Court Sides With Boston In Long Island Bridge Dispute

Rendering of the proposed new Long Island Bridge. Courtesy city of Boston.

By SCOTT JACKSON

The state’s highest court on Monday ruled in favor of the city Boston in the dispute over the Long Island Bridge, finding the Quincy Conservation Commission’s denial of a permit for the project was properly preempted by a subsequent order issued by state regulators.

Quincy argued before the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) that Quincy’s local wetland ordinance contains language that is more stringent than the state’s Wetlands Protection Act, and thus the commission’s denial can stand despite the superseding order of conditions from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Writing for a unanimous court on Monday, Justice David Lowy ruled that was not the case.

“The commission claims it relied on the local ordinance’s reference to ‘cumulatively adverse effect[s] upon wetland values,’ and that this language is more stringent than the language in the act. However, we conclude that the DEP order supersedes that of the commission because the commission did not rest its determination on more stringent local provisions,” Lowy wrote in the 17-page decision.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Boston Mayor Michelle Wu called Monday’s ruling a major victory.

“This major victory for Boston protects our authority to serve our residents with the greatest needs. Today’s decision will allow Boston to continue exploring the potential and opportunities on Long Island to connect our residents with substance use disorder services and housing,” the statement said. “We look forward to collaborating with our local and state partners to ensure that every person impacted by substance use has a path to a stable recovery and housing.”

Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch’s Chief of Staff, Chris Walker, said the court’s decision does not clear the way for construction of the new bridge, and Quincy will continue to challenge the proposed bridge through all available avenues.

“While today’s ruling is not the one the City had hoped for, it is narrowly focused on only the single issue before the Court – not the myriad of additional serious, substantive environmental and structural concerns that we’ve raised and are still outstanding in various venues,” Walker wrote in an email.

“The ruling is not remotely close to a green light for a new bridge, and the City is going to continue to press its case through all available avenues that the City of Boston has proposed an environmentally and structurally deficient bridge design that would’ve only been acceptable had it been permitted when the bridge was originally built almost a century ago.”

Then Boston Mayor Marty Walsh in January 2018 announced plans to rebuild the Long Island Bridge and open a recovery campus on the island. Under Boston’s proposal, the piers that held up the former Long Island Bridge – which was built in 1950 and razed in 2015, after it was closed without warning the previous year because of concerns about the integrity of the superstructure – would support the new bridge superstructure.

The bridge would connect Long Island, which is within Boston’s city limits, with Moon Island, which is within Quincy’s limits and fully owned by Boston. Moon Island is accessible via a causeway from the Squantum neighborhood in Quincy, though the island is not open to the public.

Koch and other Quincy officials were quick to oppose the proposal to rebuild the bridge, citing the impact its reopening could have on traffic in Squantum and other parts of the city.

The Quincy Conservation Commission denied Boston’s application to rebuild the bridge later on in 2018. In its decision, the commission stated Boston had not provided sufficient information about how Boston would mitigate the environmental impacts of repairing and replacing the piers as well as repairing the road that provides access to the bridge.

Following that denial, Boston sought a superseding order of conditions from the DEP and also appealed the ruling in Superior Court. The DEP did grant a superseding order of conditions for the project, which overruled the commission’s denial, and a Superior Court judge remanded the matter back to the commission so members could consider additional information; the commission denied the permit once again after the information was submitted.

After the case returned to Superior Court, a judge in late 2020 ruled in favor of Boston, finding that the project would be governed by the DEP’s superseding order of conditions. The city of Quincy appealed that decision and that appeal was heard by the Supreme Judicial Court.

As it had in Superior Court, Quincy argued in its appeal before the high court that the city’s local wetlands ordinance is more stringent than the state’s Wetlands Protection Act. In Monday’s ruling, the SJC said Quincy did not explain how the commission’s analysis differs from the analysis undertaken by the DEP.

“The commission claims it relied on the local ordinance’s reference to ‘cumulatively adverse effect[s] upon wetland values,’ and that this language is more stringent than the language in the act. According to the commission, it did not have enough information to determine the cumulative effects of the work that would occur on the piers and the access road,” Lowy wrote.

“The commission does not explain in its brief, and did not explain in its decisions denying Boston’s application, how its own analysis differs from the analysis that the DEP was authorized to perform.  Accordingly…we conclude that the DEP’s superseding order of conditions preempts the commission’s determination.”

In terms of the environmental impacts associated with repairing the piers, the high court stated that the “regulations that the commission cited in its initial decision exclusively were DEP regulations supplementing” the state Wetlands Protection Act.

“Therefore, the commission did not rely on the local ordinance for its decision on the piers.  As such, the DEP’s analysis regarding the piers controls because the DEP’s interpretation of the act supersedes that of the commission,” Lowy wrote, pointing to a 2016 ruling in a different case by the state’s Appeals Court.

“Moreover, even if the commission also applied the local ordinance to the piers, its analysis cannot stand because the ordinance does not treat more stringently than the act the factors that the commission considered.”

The SJC noted the Quincy Conservation Commission was concerned about “the impact that the piers would have on fisheries, wildlife habitat, pollution, land under the ocean, and land containing shellfish,” all of which are considered by the Wetlands Protection Act.

Quincy’s local ordinance, the court continued, “also references these factors, but does not provide rules or definitions more stringent than those found in the act and the regulations. Rather, the local ordinance is concerned almost entirely with the procedure for permit applications.”

“These sections do not give the commission additional authority over fisheries, wildlife habitats, pollution, land under the ocean, or land containing shellfish that the DEP does not also have,” Lowy wrote.

Quincy had also argued the commission was provided with insufficient information on the wetlands impacts associated with repairing the access road to the bridge. The commission cited a memorandum from its engineering consultants that found the roadway would need additional work that Boston had not included in its notice of intent.

In Monday’s ruling, the court said that the DEP was required to consider all impacts associated with repairing the access road.

“The impacts with which the commission s consultants and the commission were concerned were within the DEP’s purview,” Lowy wrote.

“The DEP addressed the access road in its superseding order of conditions, stating that, according to the notice of intent, approximately 126 [square feet] of buffer zone will be permanently altered as a result of roadway and lighting improvements.  The DEP also cited the assertion in Boston’s notice of intent that “5,218 [square feet] of buffer zone associated with coastal bank . . . will be temporarily disturbed.’”

Lowy continued, noting that, “If the DEP thought that there were other road-related impacts affecting wetlands, it was required to address them – even if they concerned parts of the access road outside the areas addressed by,” the Wetlands Protection Act.

The DEP could have also denied Boston’s application if, like the commission, it felt Boston had not provided adequate information, the court stated.

“If DEP agreed with the commission that Boston had presented insufficient information about impacts related to the access road, it would have denied Boston’s application on that basis,” Lowy wrote.

“Accordingly, the superseding order of conditions preempts the commission’s decision to the extent that the commission’s decision was premised on impacts related to the access road.”

Senate Bill Includes $10M For Long Island Ferry Service

By SCOTT JACKSON

A $10 billion transportation bond bill recently approved by the state Senate includes $10 million for new ferry service to Long Island.

Sen. Nick Collins (D-Boston) proposed including the $10 million for the ferry service in the bill, an amendment his colleagues adopted in a unanimous vote, according to the Boston Herald, which first reported the news. Boston officials have proposed opening a new recovery campus on Long Island.

“This is an intentional effort to decentralize critical services by restoring daily access to public health facilities on Long Island in Boston Harbor,” Collins said in a statement. “I want to thank my colleagues for unanimously supporting this legislation that represents a significant step toward a statewide solution to this epidemic that continues to take too many of our loved ones, friends and neighbors across the Commonwealth.”

A spokesperson for Boston Mayor Michelle Wu told the Herald, “We are grateful for the Senate’s inclusion of this funding as the administration continues to evaluate Long Island as a piece of the City’s medium- and long-term options to address gaps in transitional housing and substance-use disorder treatment and recovery programs.”

A conference committee has been named to iron out the differences in the transportation bills passed by the Senate and the House. Funding for the Long Island ferry service was not included in the House bill.

Officials from Boston and Quincy have been at odds over Boston’s proposal to rebuild the Long Island bridge to provide transportation to and from the proposed recovery campus. Quincy officials have cited the impact the rebuilt bridge could have on traffic in Squantum and other areas of the city and have urged their counterparts in Boston to instead use ferry service to access the island.

Quincy City Councillor William Harris, whose ward includes Squantum, welcomed Collins’ amendment.

“I want to thank Senator Nick Collins, and all of his colleagues that unanimously took a giant step in securing treatment in the future for our many handicapped folks who battle addiction on a daily basis,” Harris wrote in an email.

“Some of my constituents have congratulated me on being part of blocking the building of the Long Island bridge. I have made it quite clear to everyone I have spoken to on this matter, this is not a victory, this is not a time to celebrate, this is time for all of us to come together and assist our neighboring city to our  north and be part of the solution to fight the horrible disease of addiction that haunts all of our communities across the Commonwealth and throughout the world.

“I am committed to stand up and ask my city to do its part. And I hope fellow city councilors and representatives will do the same.”

Good Health Closing At End Of August

Good Health Natural Foods on Hancock Street is set to close on Aug. 31. The store has been open in Quincy Square since 1978 and at its current location since 2013. “We’re going to miss everybody,” said store owner Dianne Maturo. Quincy Sun Photo/Robert Bosworth.

By SCOTT JACKSON

One of the longest-tenured businesses in Quincy Square, Good Health Natural Foods, is set to close at the end of the next month.

“It is very sad,” store owner Dianne Maturo said Thursday in a phone interview.

Good Health offers a variety of organic fruits and vegetables, as well as all-natural health and beauty products and a variety of vitamins and other supplements.  Dianne and her husband Ralph first opened the store in Quincy Square in 1978 and moved to the shop’s current location at 1630 Hancock St. in 2013. The building had previously been home to Blockbuster and before that Colman’s Sporting Goods.

In the interview, Dianne Maturo said Good Health would be closing on Aug. 31 because the store’s landlord is selling the building. (The city has moved to take the building next door at 1620 Hancock St., a burned-out pizzeria, by eminent domain in the hopes of flipping it to a developer.)

In addition, Maturo cited the high cost of rent and the rise of online retail sales, which, she said, “has just become a way of life.”

Maturo said she is unlikely to open a new store in Quincy or a surrounding community. Her husband passed away in 2017 and she said it would be “much more difficult to do this alone.” Maturo also said it would be difficult to compete with online retailers – whose popularity took off during the pandemic and “continues, continues to thrive,” she noted – and chain stores who can buy their products in large quantities.

Maturo thanked her customers for their support over the past 44 years.

“I want to thank the community for all the support over all these years. We’re going to miss everybody,” she said.

Good Health currently has a second store on Columbia Road in Hanover, which will remain open.

“We do have the other store and we will be open,” Maturo said.

Some of the store’s Quincy customers have said they will make the trip to Hanover, she added, and shipping is available for those who cannot make the trip.

Good Health employs about 50 people between its two locations, including approximately 35 in Quincy. Maturo said the Hanover store could not accommodate all the Quincy workers, who, she stated, have already begun to make plans for their future, like going back to school.

“Everybody is just thinking about the next chapter in their lives and what they’ll do,” she said. “I’m just happy they are coming up with those plans.”

Quincy Named A Top 100 Place To Live In America

Quincy, MA has been named a Top 100 Best Place to Live in America by Livability.com, outpacing more than 2,000 cities with populations between 20,000 and 500,000 in this data-driven ranking.

The new rankings, sponsored by eXp Realty, are the culmination of months of extensive research into relocation trends, economic variables and factors that influence the quality of life. Thirty-six states are represented from coast to coast.

Quincy is ranked 49th.

Here’s what the ranking said about Quincy:

Named after Col. John Quincy, the great-grandfather of former president John Quincy Adams, Quincy, MA, exudes history yet offers a slew of unique amenities. Today, the city maintains much of that historic charm while keeping a firm eye toward the future as one of the best places to live in the U.S.

Here in Quincy, you’ll find historic landmarks all over the city (the Presidents Trail is a must-follow) as well as a thriving arts scene, tasty American and international cuisine, a collection of must-try bars and pubs, and 27 miles of gorgeous coastline. Its strong life sciences and financial services sectors, as well as its education opportunities at Quincy College and Eastern Nazarene College, make it one of the best places to live in the U.S. One of its gems? The city’s Marina Bay neighborhood offers gorgeous housing and hotels as well as dockside bars, cute shops, a Nantucket-style boardwalk, views of downtown Boston and much, much more. It’s quite the oasis.

What are Quincy’s major industries and employers?

A few key industries include life sciences and financial services.

What are the major colleges and universities in Quincy?

Quincy College & Eastern Nazarene College

What is the weather like in Quincy? 

Here, winters are chilly, with snowfall possible from November through May, but summer brings warm, moderately hot days.

What is there to do outside in Quincy?

Enjoy a day at the beach. Quincy offers several municipal beaches, such as Avalon, Baker, Back and Edgewater.

Quincy, MA is Remote-Ready

What makes Quincy a great place for remote workers?

The Thomas Crane Public Library, built in 1882, is a truly stunning place to get some work done, with gorgeous pine woodwork, stained glass windows and a big beautiful fireplace. In addition, Quincy has lots of cafes and bars to relax or work from, plus plenty of parks to explore and unwind in.

What Locals Love in Quincy, MA

What is the best local bookstore in Quincy?

The Thomas Crane Public Library, built in 1882, is a truly stunning place to get some work done or find your next favorite read, with gorgeous pine woodwork, stained glass windows and a big beautiful fireplace.

How do you spend a weekend in Quincy?

Take in history by exploring the President’s Trail.

What can you do for free in Quincy?

Explore Merrymount Park by hiking its trails and taking in the views of its wooded uplands and wetlands.

What’s the best way to spend happy hour in Quincy?

Idle Hour is the perfect place for a cool cocktail and a juicy burger.

What’s something only locals know about Quincy?

A toasted coconut coffee from Coffee Break Café is pretty delicious.

Thinking of Moving to Quincy, Massachusetts?

You’ll find listings of Quincy homes for sale as well as all of Massachusetts real estate on eXp Realty and you can refine your search. These top-rated real estate agents in Quincy are local eXperts and are ready to answer your questions about the best new neighborhoods.

Quick Facts

Median Home Value: $647,122

Med. Household Income: $80,462

Median Property Tax: $5,687

More about Living in Quincy, MA

The 2022 ranking categories were influenced by an exclusive study conducted by Livability.com in partnership with Ipsos. More than 1,000 adults, aged 18 and up from across the country, were surveyed to determine the characteristics of livability they would value in a prospective home community with an emphasis on how rising costs are affecting their relocation decisions. Respondents were asked which factors would be most heavily considered when choosing to relocate and how their housing needs and priorities have changed due to record-breaking inflation. The research shows that 7 in 10 adults consider affordability to be a top three factor influencing a decision to relocate.

The 2022 Top 100 Best Places to Live list broadly reflects the findings that affordability and local amenities are top priorities for people looking to relocate.

“As remote work trends continue and affordability becomes more elusive amidst high inflation, people are thinking about where their money goes the farthest,” says Amanda Ellis, Livability.com Editor in Chief. “Our Top 100 Best Places to Live list celebrates the amazing small and mid-sized communities across the U.S. – the ones who really shine when it comes to offering affordability alongside amenities and opportunity.”

This year, Livability partnered with eXp Realty, the fastest-growing real estate brokerage in the world, on the annual community ranking. The company, which has been fully remote since its founding in 2009 and operates in a cloud-based virtual platform, understands that today many people are choosing lifestyle over their work location when deciding where to live.

“The popularity and flexibility that remote work offers has changed the dynamics of how people decide where to live,” said Dawn Conciatori, VP, Referral Generation, eXp Realty. “A recent study by Upwork shows over 19 million Americans plan to relocate due to remote work and flexible work options. Relocating to a new city is an exciting time, but also a big decision. Our partnership with Livability can help people find the kind of livable community they’re looking for, whether they’re looking to make a move now or in the near future.”

This year, the list was centered around mid-sized cities (generally defined as a population of 500,000 people or smaller) that are attracting big waves of young people. More than 2,000 cities were ranked on 50 data points measuring economics, housing, amenities, infrastructure, demographics, social and civic capital, education and health care. Sources included the best public and private data available from organizations like the U.S. Census Bureau, Lightcast and Esri.

This year’s top 10 cities are:

  1. Madison, Wisconsin
  2. Ann Arbor, Michigan
  3. Rochester, Minnesota
  4. Naperville, Illinois
  5. Overland Park, Kansas
  6. Minneapolis, Minnesota
  7. Fishers, Indiana
  8. Salt Lake City, Utah
  9. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  10. Carmel, Indiana

The complete list of the 2022 Top 100 Best Places to Live is featured on Livability.com, along with each city’s LivScore and some of the specific attractions, activities and amenities that make it a great place to live.

Mass. Legislature Unanimously Passes $52.7B Budget

The Massachusetts Legislature on Monday unanimously passed a $52.7 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23). This budget upholds fiscal responsibility and makes targeted investments to strengthen the state’s economic foundation, protect the most vulnerable residents and support the everyday needs of communities and families in the Commonwealth.
“Massachusetts is resilient, and this budget helps us create the conditions to continue being resilient into the future,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “This budget incorporates the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic by continuing to save money for a rainy day, invest in support for the most vulnerable among us, and chart a course to ensure that Massachusetts remains a competitive place to innovate for generations to come. I’m particularly proud of the extraordinary investments we have made in early education and child care, workforce development, affordable housing, and mental health which will directly impact residents’ lives. And, at a time when the rights of women, pregnant people and LGBTQIA+ individuals are under assault, this budget includes additional protections for these rights. I want to thank Speaker Mariano for his partnership, Chairs Rodrigues and Michlewitz and their teams at Ways and Means for their many hours of hard work, the entire Senate Ways and Means committee and all of my colleagues in the Senate for ensuring so many important initiatives to help our residents are included in this budget.”
 
“As Massachusetts residents and businesses continue to face discouraging economic uncertainty, the Legislature’s FY23 Budget responds to the financial challenges facing the Commonwealth by balancing a focus on immediate needs such as workforce development, with a focus on long-term investments that are designed to grow our economy in a sustainable way,” said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy). “I want to thank Chairman Michlewitz, the Committee on Ways and Means, and all my colleagues in the House, as well as Senate President Karen Spilka and our partners in the Senate for the hard work and collaboration required to get this done.”
Taking into consideration historic tax revenue performance in Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22), the final FY23 conference report increases revenue projections by $2.66 billion over the December consensus for a projection of $39.575 billion. The FY23 budget transfers funds into the Stabilization Fund, projecting an estimated historic balance of approximately $7.35 billion for this crucial ‘rainy day’ fund at the end of the fiscal year.
Notably, the Legislature provides significant funds in the FY23 budget to invest in the Commonwealth’s long-term future obligations. Prioritizing funding for education, this budget includes $175 million in a newly created High-Quality Early Education and Care Affordability Trust Fund to be utilized in the coming years to support the implementation of the recommendations made by the Early Education and Care Economic Review Commission. Additionally, a supplemental payment of $150 million is included to the Student Opportunity Act (SOA) Investment fund, bringing its balance up to $500 million, ensuring resources will be utilized in the future to support equitable funding for our most vulnerable students.
The budget strongly reflects the Legislature’s commitment to support cities and towns and provides a significant amount of local and regional aid to ensure communities can provide essential services to the public while rebuilding from a once-in-a-generation pandemic. This includes $1.231 billion in funding for Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA), an increase of $63 million over FY22, and $45 million in payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) for state-owned land, an increase of $10 million over FY22, providing supplemental local aid payments to cities and towns working to improve access to essential services and programs.
The FY23 budget includes $187 million to fund the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) as well as $226.2 million for a safety and workforce reserve to address ongoing safety concerns identified by the Federal Transit Administration’s Safety Management Inspection.
 
The FY23 Conference Committee Report passed today by the Legislature builds long-term economic security for the Commonwealth by leveraging the state’s strong revenue growth to make significant investments in areas like early education and care, K-12 schools, mental health, workforce development, housing stability and much more,” said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “Thank you to Senate President Spilka for her continued leadership and support, Senators Friedman and O’Connor for their contributions, Chair Michlewitz and the House conferees for their continued collaboration and partnership, and to all of my colleagues in the Senate for their input throughout this budget process. Because of the advocacy of each Senator, the conference committee report reflects our priorities by upholding fiscal responsibility, supporting the everyday needs of our residents, and ensuring our Commonwealth’s economic foundation remains strong.
 
“The $51.87 billion budget presents the Commonwealth with a unique opportunity to invest in the middle class and start to address some of the challenges that a post-COVID world has created. By reinvesting in the people of the Commonwealth we will continue to assist those recovering from this pandemic while making our economy stronger and more equitable for years to come” said Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Chair of the House Committee on Ways & Means (D-Boston). “We remain mindful of the economic uncertainty on the horizon, but the Commonwealth is in a strong fiscal position to weather the storms ahead.”
As a cornerstone of the Commonwealth’s economic foundation, the FY23 budget expands access to educational opportunity and strongly supports students, families, educators, and institutions. Delivering on the Legislature’s promise to fully fund and implement the SOA by FY27, this budget invests $6 billion in Chapter 70 funding, an increase of $495 million over FY22, and doubles minimum Chapter 70 aid from $30 to $60 per pupil. This historic level of investment ensures the state remains on schedule to fully implement the law, provides school districts with resources to provide high quality educational opportunities, and addresses rising costs and administrative challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The FY23 budget also includes $110 million for a year-long extension of universal school meals, providing immediate relief to working families by saving them up to $1,200 every year from reduced grocery expenditures, according to The Feed Kids Coalition.
The budget also reflects a strong to commitment to early education and care, investing $1.18 billion into this sector, including $365 million in new resources to begin implementation of recommendations made by the Early Education and Care Economic Review Commission. These investments will help to stabilize providers, support the early educator workforce with rate increases and higher education opportunities, and provide access to affordable care for children and families.
The budget invests in higher education, allocating $670 million for the University of Massachusetts system, $352 million for community colleges, and $328 million for state universities. The budget also includes $175 million in scholarship funding and funds the community colleges SUCCESS Fund at $14 million and the STEM Starter Academy at $4.75 million. The budget also expands access to inclusive education opportunities for young adults with disabilities by removing existing barriers, codifies the Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (MAICEI) grant program and dedicates $4 million in flexible resources for the public higher education system to support inclusive learning options for this diverse student population.
Other education investments include:
  • $441 million for the Special Education Circuit Breaker, reimbursing school districts for the high cost of educating students with disabilities at the statutorily required 75 per cent reimbursement rate
  • $244 million for reimbursing school districts at 75 per cent for costs incurred when students leave to attend charter schools
  • $82.2 million for regional school transportation
  • $23 million for homeless student transportation
  • $16.5 million for grants to the Head Start program to maintain access to early education services for low-income families
  • $15 million for the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative to expand access to pre-kindergarten and preschool opportunities in underserved areas
  • $6 million for Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Grants to help K-12 schools bolster SEL supports for students, including $1 million for a new pilot program to provide mental health screenings for K-12 students
  • $1.5 million for the Genocide Education Trust Fund, fulfilling our commitment to fund efforts to educate middle and high school students on the history of genocide and support implementation efforts in accordance with Chapter 98 of the Acts of 2021, An Act Concerning Genocide Education, passed by the Legislature in 2021
“The FY23 budget invests significantly in the Commonwealth, funding services and programs that will benefit all residents,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “I’m especially proud of the historic investments we make in early education and care, and the work we’ve done to improve community-based mental health and substance use disorder services in our state. This budget reaffirms our commitment to supporting working families across Massachusetts, and includes funding for education, health care, food insecurity, and programs for our most vulnerable neighbors.”
 
“This budget is a statement on the importance of dealing with the lessons learned from the pandemic and addressing them. Simultaneously, it positions the Commonwealth to move forward and to shape the new economy presented post-COVID,” said Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante, Vice Chair of House Ways & Means (D-Gloucester).  “I am proud of the work completed on this budget by my colleagues in the Legislature, and especially the leadership and priorities that Speaker Ron Mariano and Chair Aaron Michlewitz put forth throughout this process.”
Recognizing that health care makes up more than 40 percent of our annual state budget, the Legislature’s FY23 budget sustains support for the state’s safety net by funding MassHealth at a total of $19.48 billion, ensuring over 2.1 million people with continued access to comprehensive health care services. The budget prepares for the transition of individuals from MassHealth to the Health Connector when the federal public health emergency ends by providing $50 million for a Connector Care Pilot Program, which utilizes savings from the American Rescue Plan to fund subsidized health insurance plans for members that are between 300%-500% of the federal poverty level (FPL) for two years. It also invests $73 million to expand eligibility for the Medicare Savings Program to 225% FPL.
The FY23 budget invests in the human services workforce who provide services to the state’s most vulnerable residents, including $230 million for Chapter 257 rates for health and human service workers, $40 million to continue higher rate add-ons and ensure a smaller wage cliff between FY22 and FY23 for home health aides and homemakers, and $1 million for the Nursing and Allied Health Workforce Development program. Additional investments include funding for programming such as the Elder Mental Health Outreach Teams, the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative Expansion, nine Elder Supportive Housing Sites, and the SHINE Program.
Funding a range of services to help those struggling and in need, the FY23 budget invests $218.2 for substance use disorder and intervention services provided by the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services and more importantly, addresses the mental health crisis in Massachusetts by creating the Behavioral Health Access and Crisis Intervention Trust Fund, which will fund crisis supports and a new behavioral health crisis hotline.
It also invests $20 million to recapitalize the Behavioral Health, Access, Outreach and Support Trust Fund to support targeted behavioral health initiatives, $15 million for emergency department diversion initiatives for children, adolescents, and adults and $8.2 million to support student behavioral health services at the University of Massachusetts, state universities and community colleges.
Sending a strong and unequivocal message that reproductive and gender affirming health care will be protected in Massachusetts in the face of growing legal uncertainty across the United States after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the FY23 budget invests $2 million in grants for improvements to reproductive health access, infrastructure, and safety.
Finally, recognizing that stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability and death in the United States and Massachusetts, the FY23 budget includes provisions establishing a comprehensive system of stroke response and care to ensure patients receive the appropriate urgent care quickly. With this system of care in place, a person experiencing a stroke will be transported to the nearest trauma center, improving long-term health outcomes and rates of survival.
Other health care and public health investments include:
  • $113.1 million for children’s mental health services 
  • $28.3 million for Family Resource Centers to grow and improve the mental health resources and programming available to families
  • $75.3 million for sexual assault and domestic violence prevention services
  • $48.8 million for early intervention services, to ensure increased supports for families with infants and young toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities
  • $15 million for grants to support local and regional boards of health, continuing our efforts to build upon the successful State Action for Public Health Excellence (SAPHE) Program
Building on the foundation of last year’s efforts to tackle deep poverty, the FY23 budget supports working families struggling with the economic toll associated with rising costs and includes a record investment in the annual child’s clothing allowance, providing $400 per child for eligible families to buy clothes for the upcoming school year. The budget also includes a 10 percent increase to Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children(TAFDC) and Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC) benefit levels compared to June 2022 to ensure the economic supports necessary to provide stability to families across the state.
Other children and family investments include:
  • $30.6 million for Emergency Food Assistance to ensure that citizens in need can navigate the historic levels of food insecurity caused by COVID-19
  • $28.5 million for the YouthWorks jobs program to fund over 6,000 summer and year-round jobs for youth in low-wage-earning and fixed-income families
  • $20 million in Healthy Incentives Programs to maintain access to healthy food options for households in need
  • $7.5 million for grants to community foundations to support communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic
  • $3.5 million for the Massachusetts Center on Child Wellbeing & Trauma
  • $4.1 million for Children Advocacy Centers to improve the resources available to children who have been neglected or sexually abused
The FY23 budget provides resources to help with housing stability to keep individuals and families in their homes, including $219.4 million for Emergency Assistance Family Shelters, more than $200 million for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), $175 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) and $92 million for assistance to local housing authorities. The budget also upholds the emergency-level maximum amount of rental assistance that a household can receive at $10,000 and requires the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to study and report on the execution of no-fault evictions between 2019 and 2022.
The budget funds the Department of Developmental Services at $2.44 billion, aimed to support individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. It includes $278.5 million for Community Day and Work Programs, $90.6 million for respite services, $42.3 million in autism supports and services, $33.9 million in transportation services, $13.9 million for the autism division, and $1.8 million for supportive technology for individuals.
“I’m excited that this budget will help move the Commonwealth forward and continue a strong and equitable recovery from the pandemic,” said Senator Jason Lewis, Assistant Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Education. “I’m especially pleased with the historic level of investment in education, including continuing to fully fund the Student Opportunity Act as well as beginning to implement the recommendations of the Early Education and Care Economic Review Commission in order to expand access to high quality, affordable early education and child care.”
 
“The passing of the 2023 budget comes at a critical time for the commonwealth. The bill will provide support for a variety of initiatives such as green energy, public safety, infrastructure development in our cities and towns, and much more,” said Representative Paul J. Donato, Assistant Vice Chair of House Ways & Means (D-Medford). “I look forward to seeing the results of this excellent legislation.”
For the first time ever, the FY23 budget removes barriers to communication services for incarcerated persons and their loved ones, requiring the Department of Correction (DOC) and sheriffs to provide phone calls free of charge to those receiving and initiating phone calls and other services such as video or electronic communications. It also establishes a new requirement that commissary items in correctional facilities shall not be sold at more than 3 per cent over the purchase cost. Both changes ensure that correctional facilities do not unjustly profit off the basic needs of incarcerated persons. The budget also eliminates probation and parole fees, reducing the burden on individuals during their re-entry process. Currently, individuals pay $50 per month for administrative supervised probation fees, $65 per month for probation supervision fees, and $80 per month in parole fees.
“Today’s passage of the Fiscal Year 2023 state budget is welcome news, as it provides for a significant increase in local aid for our cities and towns while investing in many critical programs to support our schools, seniors and veterans,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). “We find ourselves in the enviable position of having more revenues available than initially anticipated, but that makes it even more important to set spending priorities that are hopefully prudent in the near-term and sustainable moving forward.”
 
“The FY 23 budget reflected by this conference committee report turns robust state revenues into investments in important priorities such as Local Aid, increased K- 12 educational spending, and mental health services. Beyond those spending items, it also builds a solid foundation for the future by increasing the stabilization fund to more than $7 million, addressing our unfunded pension liability, and creating reserves that could be critical in the event our state must confront an economic downturn,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “With this conference committee report accepted, we must now return our attention to relief for the taxpayers of our Commonwealth.”
 
“I am proud of the budget that the FY23 Budget Conferees have put forward. We worked together to produce a budget that makes record-level investments in the services that will make a difference in the lives of our constituents,” said State Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth), ranking member of the Committee on Ways and Means. “We are making these investments to position all of Massachusetts for future economic success, while also safeguarding against any economic disruption that could impact the Commonwealth. I was honored to have served on this important committee that allowed us to work collaboratively for a shared goal.”
 
“The conference committee has delivered a strong budget that reflects the most important priorities of our cities and towns,” said Representative Todd Smola (R-Warren), Ranking Member of the Committee on Ways and Means. “This budget supports our communities and invests critical funds in programs that will help people across Massachusetts. I am pleased with the final product and thank my colleagues on the conference committee for their diligence and hard work to get it done.”
To meet the needs of our Commonwealth’s post-pandemic recovery, the FY23 budget invests more than $100 million to bolster job training programs, help connect unemployed and under-employed people with higher paying jobs and support career services that help students gain skills to apply for future jobs. The budget includes $20 million for Career Technical Institutes to increase the skilled worker population’s access to career technical training opportunities, a $17 million transfer to the Workforce Competitiveness Trust fund, and $15 million for one-stop career centers to support economic recovery. The budget also includes a $1 million investment in Learn to Earn and $1 million for the 1199 SEIU Training and Upgrading Fund.
Other investments in economic and workforce development include:
  • $60 million for Adult Basic Education
  • $20 million for the Community Empowerment and Reinvestment Grant Program
  • $20 million for a loan forgiveness program within the Department of Mental Health to support their workforce
  • $15 million to support teachers of color, including $7.5 million for Tomorrow’s Teachers program to provide scholarships to people committed to teaching in public schools and $7.5 million for loan repayment for teachers of color
  • $10 million for loan repayment and bonuses for the homeless shelter workforce that continue to provide critical services to the most vulnerable
  • $4.8 million for the Innovation Pathways program to continue to connect students to trainings and post-secondary opportunities in the industry sector with a focus on STEM fields
  • $2.5 million for the Massachusetts Cybersecurity Innovation Fund, including $1.5 million to continue partnerships with community colleges and state universities to provide cybersecurity workforce training to students and cybersecurity services to municipalities, non-profits, and small businesses
The budget also continues the Legislature’s focus on environmental and climate protection by investing $375.2 million for environmental services, which include funding increases for state parks, environmental protection, and fisheries and wildlife. Additional measures include promoting electric vehicles and funding for environmental justice and climate adaptation and preparedness.
The FY23 budget also establishes a veteran equality review board to ensure that veterans dishonorably discharged under ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ receive state-based veterans’ benefits.
Having been passed by the House and Senate, the legislation now goes to Governor Baker for his signature.