Legislature approves supplemental budget, moves to Governor’s desk
BOSTON (WWLP) – The Massachusetts legislature has approved a $1.6 billion spending plan for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) which will help with a wide range of issues across the state.
The supplemental budget covers a lot of ground, from staff shortages in schools to extending outdoor dining. Lawmakers believe this plan will benefit every corner of the Commonwealth.
To mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and prevent a future variant outbreak, the bill invests $700 million for the state’s COVID-19 response. Additionally, the bill extends outdoor dining, and beer, wine, and cocktails to-go through April of 2023. It also also extends COVID-19 related bonuses for members of the Massachusetts National Guard.
One area of the supplemental budget that lawmakers fought to include was a provision that requires a divestment of all pension funds from companies sanctioned by the U.S. or incorporated in Russia. But that’s not all – the bill also directs 10 million dollars to support the resettlement Ukrainian refugees.
The supplemental budget also invests in housing, education and mental health.
It is just one part of the budget cycle here on Beacon Hill. Lawmakers plan to begin deliberations on a new state budget in the coming weeks.
Other funding items of note include:
- $100 million for a new Winter Road Recovery Assistance Program for cities and towns to repair potholes and roads and bridges worn down by adverse weather conditions;
- $20 million for Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) funding which supports no-cost counseling, advocacy, and intervention services to victims of crime, thereby covering the immediate needs of the Victim and Witness Assistance Board as they are experiencing a shortage of federal funding;
- $10 million for Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC);
- $8.4 million for Department of Children and Families foster family rates;
- $8 million for Early Intervention staff stabilization supports;
- $5 million for state election costs;
- $5 million for the Department of Mental Health to expand clientele housing supports;
- $1.8 million for mental health services for international evacuees resettled in the Commonwealth;
- $1.7 million for state park investments, including water safety initiatives;
- $609,000 for additional staffing to implement the Next Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy legislation, which was passed early in the session; and
- $500,000 to expand the capacity of the Commission on the Status of Women.