MA House Of Representatives Passes FY 2023 Budget; Makes Targeted Investments To Support Families

Representatives Ronald Mariano, Tackey Chan, Bruce Ayers, and Dan Hunt joined their colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in passing the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) budget last week. This budget responsibly responds to the needs of residents and makes targeted investments to support families in the Commonwealth.

Funded at $49.73 billion, the House’s FY23 budget continues its strong commitment to cities and towns, and includes significant investments in health care, education, housing, and workforce development, among other priorities.

“The House budget responds to the economic challenges currently facing Massachusetts residents 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 for his indispensable guidance, as well as the Committee on Ways and Means and my colleagues in the House for their tireless hard work.”

“This year’s budget reaffirms our commitment to fully funding the Student Opportunity Act with record funding for Quincy public schools, mitigating the impacts of climate change, and investing in health care and behavioral health supports,” said Representative Tackey Chan (D-Quincy). “At the same time, we were able to provide funding directly to important local service organizations in Quincy. I’m proud to have joined my colleagues in the House to pass this balanced budget that prioritizes the needs of our communities.”

“I’m pleased to have joined with my colleagues in passing a budget that invests in education, economic development, housing, and healthcare,” said Representative Bruce Ayers (D-Quincy). “Working with the delegation, I’m especially glad to see our amendments for Quincy included, providing funds for important things like the Marina Bay Ferry, Quincy Asian Resources, Quincy Community Action Programs, increased seasonal state police patrols along Wollaston Beach, and many others. I appreciate Speaker Mariano’s leadership on this budget and know it will have positive impacts on Quincy, my district, and the entire state.”

The House FY23 budget expands services without raising taxes and is made possible due to strong revenue collections and increased federal reimbursement. Due to responsible financial leadership, the state’s Stabilization Fund is estimated to stand at $6.55 billion.

The FY23 House budget funds Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) at $1.199 billion and Chapter 70 education funding at $5.988 billion, representing a $494 million increase over the FY22 budget and fully funding the second year of a six-year implementation plan of the Student Opportunity Act (SOA) which was enacted in 2019 to support equitable funding for our most vulnerable students. The City of Quincy received $21.55 million in UGGA and $35.4 million in Chapter 70 education funding, a 2.7% increase and 11.1% increase from FY22 respectively.

The Quincy delegation secured investments in a number of community projects and local organizations including:

  • $50,000 for Quincy’s fire hazmat unit
  • $100,000 for Quincy Asian Resources, Inc.
  • $95,000 for seasonal State Police patrols of Wollaston Beach and the Quincy Shore Drive and Furnace Brook Parkway areas
  • $100,000 for Quincy Community Action Programs, Inc. for their rehabilitation and renovation efforts on their food center facility
  • $75,000 for improvements, preparedness, and operations of ferry services out of Quincy
  • $75,000 for renovations and accessibility improvements to Wollaston Recreational Facility
  • $100,000 for Germantown Neighborhood Center
  • $25,000 for the Ward 2 Civic Association
  • $25,000 for Penn’s Hill Neighborhood Association
  • $50,000 for Friends of Faxon Park
  • $100,000 for student supports at Quincy College

The FY23 House budget includes an unprecedented $912 million to fund early education and care (EEC).  Continuing its longstanding commitment to invest in the workforce, the budget includes a $70 million in rate increases for subsidized child care providers across the Commonwealth, representing a $50 million increase over FY22. It also includes a new initiative funded at $10 million to pay for child care for early educators. Following the recommendations issued by the Special Legislative Early Education and Care Economic Review Commission, the budget includes language requiring the Department of Early Education and Care to base reimbursement on enrollment rather than attendance. Early education and care funding initiatives include:

  • $16.5 million for Head Start grants;
  • $15 million for child care resource and referral agencies;
  • $10 million for EEC higher education provider opportunities;
  • $5 million to provide additional navigation support and outreach to families;
  • $3 million for early childhood mental health grants; and
  • $1 million for Neighborhood Villages to provide bilingual workforce training, instructional coaching, and COVID-19 testing.

The budget also provides $110 million for a year-long extension of universal school meals, providing immediate relief to families by saving them up to $1,200 every year from reduced grocery expenditures, according to The Feed Kids Coalition. Additional education funding allocations include:

  • $440 million for Special Education Circuit Breaker;
  • $243 million for charter school aid, fully funding charter school reimbursement;
  • $77 million for regional transportation; and
  • $22 million for homeless student transportation.

The House budget invests in higher education by allocating $653 million for the University of Massachusetts system, $337 million for community colleges, and $326 million for state universities. Building on Speaker Mariano’s priority to ensure Massachusetts residents from diverse backgrounds have access to meaningful educational opportunities the budget also includes a $25.5 million increase in scholarship funding over the last fiscal year for a new total of $156 million, and funds the community colleges SUCCESS Fund at $14 million and the STEM Starter Academies at $4.75 million.

The Commonwealth’s commitment to MassHealth remains one of the largest drivers of the budget. In FY23, the House is providing $18.40 billion to fully fund its caseload, which has increased as more residents became eligible during the pandemic. The House’s FY23 budget accurately reflects this enrollment growth due to the federal extension of the public health emergency, showing the necessary increase in spending beyond what was included in the Governor’s budget proposal, while also factoring in the increased Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) reimbursement levels.

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 Act 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 $37 million to expand eligibility for the Medicare Savings Program to 250% FPL.

The House FY23 budget invests in the human services workforce who provide services to our most vulnerable, 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. The budget fully funds Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children at $343 million, as well as Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children at $137 million.

The House budget reflects the commitment to supporting health and behavioral health needs across the Commonwealth. Investments include:

  • $10 million to expand emergency diversion boarding programs within the Department of Mental Health;
  • $188.6 million for the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services;
  • $12.5 million for behavioral health supports; and
  • $48.3 million for early intervention services, with dedicated funding to help its workforce recover from the pandemic.

The House FY23 budget includes funding for housing and homelessness prevention, investing $150 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), $140 million for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), $100 million for homeless individuals, $92 million for housing authority subsidies, and $59.4 million for HomeBASE.

The budget also continues the House’s focus on environmental and climate protection by investing $349.7 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.

Speaker Mariano and the House Ways & Means Committee introduced their FY23 budget on April 13, following a review of the Governor’s proposal and a series of budget hearings. After three days of debate and over a thousand proposed amendments, the budget passed the House of Representatives 155-0 and now goes to the Senate for their consideration.

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