Tuesday, August 1, 2023
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Yesterday, I voted in the affirmative to enact a $56.2 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24), reconciling differences between the versions of the budget passed by the House of Representatives and Senate. As your State Representative and the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Education, I am immensely proud of our historic levels of investment in education, housing, healthcare, and more, as part of a broad strategy to grow our state’s economy and make Massachusetts more affordable, inclusive, and competitive.
The FY24 budget includes a total of $56.2 billion in spending, a $3.8 billion increase over the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) Budget, including significant policy initiatives like no cost calls in prisons and jails, the ConnectorCare expansion pilot, and permanent universal school meals. Today, I share with you notable investments in the FY24 budget:
Fair Share: The FY24 budget includes $1 billion in revenues generated from the Fair Share ballot initiative voters approved in November 2022, which established a new surtax of four per cent on annual income above $1 million and invests these new public dollars to improve the state’s education and transportation sectors
Education (Fair Share):
- $171.5 million to require public schools to provide universal school meals to all students free of charge, making Massachusetts the seventh state in the country to make the program permanent.
- $50 million to create Green School Works, a competitive grant program for projects related to installation and maintenance of clean energy infrastructure at public schools.
- $50 million to support free community college, including a pilot program for nursing students.
Transportation (Fair Share):
- $181 million for MBTA capital projects.
- $100 million in supplemental aid for roads and bridges.
- $90 million for regional transit funding and grants to be used exclusively to support the work of Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs), more than doubling the total funding for RTAs to $184 million.
Education: Early Education and Care, K-12 and Higher Education:
The FY24 budget supports students across the full spectrum of the Commonwealth’s education system, from Massachusetts’ youngest learners to adults re-entering higher education. The budget report delivers historic levels of investment in education, including:
- $6.59 billion in Chapter 70 funding, a $596M increase over FY23. This increase represents a 3/6th phase-in of the rates set forth in the Student Opportunity Act and continues the original implementation schedule.
- $1.5 billion investment in early education and care—the largest-ever annual appropriation for early education and care in Massachusetts history.
- $714 million for childcare for children involved with the Department of Children and Families (DCF), Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), and for low-income families.
- $85 million in rate increases for subsidized childcare providers across the Commonwealth.
- $504.5 million for the special education (SPED) circuit breaker.
- $97.1 million to reimburse school districts for regional school transportation costs, representing a 90 per cent reimbursement rate.
Public Health, Mental Health and Family Care:
Investments in the FY24 budget allow more than 2 million people to receive affordable, accessible, and comprehensive health care services. Health care investments include:
- $2.9 billion for services and focused supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- $15M to strengthen local and regional public health.
- $597.7 million for Department of Mental Health (DMH) adult support services.
- $213.3 million for a complete range of substance use disorder treatment and intervention services.
- $119.8 million for children’s mental health services.
The FY24 budget makes a historic $1.05 billion investment in housing, dedicating resources to programs that support housing stability, residential assistance, and assistance to those experiencing homelessness.
- $1.05 billion investment in housing, dedicating resources to programs that support housing stability, residential assistance, and assistance to those experiencing homelessness.
- $324 million for Emergency Assistance family shelters
- $190 million for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), which provides rental assistance up to $7,000 per household.
- The FY24 budget makes permanent a pandemic-era eviction protection for renters with pending applications for emergency rental assistance under RAFT. Under the program, a judge cannot execute an eviction before an emergency rental assistance application has been approved or denied.
Massachusetts leads in many areas, and this budget continues to strengthen our Commonwealth through effective investments and thoughtful policy on the issues that reflect our shared values: dedication to ensuring equitable, quality education for every child, responsibility to vulnerable populations, and commitment to energy and the environment. Our Commonwealth is strong and our future is bright.
Having passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, the FY24 budget now moves to the Governor’s desk for her consideration.
Stay tuned on my social media where I will be posting a budget highlight series to spotlight victories in the FY4 budget.
Yours in service,