BOSTON – State Representative Richard Haggerty has joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to pass a supplemental budget allowing the Commonwealth to increase the balance of its “Rainy Day Fund” to $3.2 billion, invest in local infrastructure projects, fight the opioid crisis while providing emergency funding for towns affected by the tornados on Cape Cod this past summer.
“This budget improves the Commonwealth’s long-range financial position by placing $400 million in our reserve account and recommits us to investing in education and transportation,” said Haggerty, “I am also pleased to support additional critical resources for mental and behavioral health as well as our Clean Water Trust Fund.”
In order to further fortify Massachusetts’ financial resiliency, the Legislature dedicated $400 million to the Commonwealth’s stabilization fund, bringing the Rainy Day Fund’s total balance to an unprecedented $3.2 billion, the first time the fund has reached that amount in its history.
“This budget makes critical investments that the Commonwealth needs in order to continue to provide the services that our constituents so dearly rely upon,” said Representative Aaron Michlewitz (D – Boston), Chair House Ways & Means Committee. “The funds that we are putting into Education, Transportation, Housing, and into the stabilization fund will go a long way to improve the lives of all the residents of the Commonwealth.”
As part of the House’s priority to protect the environment, the supplemental budget makes a $24 million investment for the testing of potential per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination of water supplies and for grants to support treatment and remediation of affected public drinking water systems, and $35 million for the Clean Water Trust Fund.
In addition, the supplemental budget reaffirms the House’s strong partnership with cities and towns by providing $60 million to invest in local roads and bridges projects. Furthering the House’s commitment to clean energy, the budget also features a $32 million investment in the state’s electric vehicle rebate program.
In addition, the supplemental budget:
· Recognizes the need for increased investment in the MBTA by providing $50 million for additional staffing and contract costs to support capital project delivery, inspection and maintenance activities, and service diversions necessary to accelerate capital projects;
· Works to support the Commonwealth’s public higher education institutions by investing $20 million in a program that encourages private fundraising with matching state dollars;
· Keeps with the House’s priority to promote gun safety by including $10 million for gun violence prevention programs;
· Supports low-income households at the risk of eviction or facing foreclosure by investing $7 million for a rental and mortgage arrearage assistance pilot program;
· Continues the House’s leadership on the Commonwealth’s early education efforts by including $3 million for grants for early educator scholarships for school paraprofessionals;
· Provides $3 million in disaster relief funding to Cape Cod communities affected by the tornados on July 23, 2019;
· Designates the presidential primary date for Sept. 1, 2020 and invests funding to establish early voting for the 2020 presidential election;
· Support the House’s priority of supporting Massachusetts’ most vulnerable youth by investing $5 million in a program to expand access for students to community-based mental and behavioral health services in schools; and
· Includes $10 million reserve for salary increases for home health aides and personnel providing homemaker and personal care homemaker services.
The supplemental budget will now go to the Senate.