HOW DOES THE BUDGET WORK?
The Massachusetts government is funded on a fiscal year basis, which runs from July 1st to June 30th. The budget process begins in January and is typically finalized in July of each year. The House just finalized our FY23 budget this past week, and the Senate will take up the budget in May.
FY23 HOUSE BUDGET DEBATE
This past week, the House passed the FY23 budget funded at $49.7 billion.The House FY23 budget expands services without raising taxes and is made possible due to strong revenue collections and increased federal reimbursement.
There were 1,521 amendments filed to the House Ways & Means Budget. The budget greatly expanded the social safety net with significant increases in funding for early education, higher education, workforce development, health and behavioral health, MassHealth, and environmental and climate protections.
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.
Lastly, the budget also eliminated probation and parole fees to reduce the burden on individuals during their re-entry process. Right now, individuals pay $50 a month for administrative supervised probation fees, $65 per month for probation supervision fees, and $80 a month in parole fees. The budget also removed barriers to communication services for incarcerated persons and their loved ones by mandating that phone calls be free of charge for persons receiving and persons initiating phone calls to incarcerated persons.
To find out more information, you can view the Massachusetts House of Representatives FY23 Budget Press Release here.
Also, several priorities on which I led were included:
Creating a Front Door to Basic Needs benefits through a Common Application
Included in the House Budget is language that I filed. Based on H.1290/S.761 An Act to streamline access to critical public health and safety-net programs through common applications, which I filed with Senator Sal DiDomenico. If it is included in the final budget, this amendment will require state agencies to develop a common application for people applying to Massachusetts needs-based benefits to help ease the burden for our most vulnerable residents. This effort builds on the SNAP Gap effort from the last budget, where I secured a similar mandate for SNAP and MassHealth. This will allow people to fill out one application rather than several, making it easier to secure safety net social benefits and help eliminate the gaps that exist between programs where eligibility significantly overlaps.
Abortion Access & Abortion Funds in Massachusetts
Lastly, Representative Stanley filed an amendment securing funds for improving reproductive health care access, infrastructure, and security in Massachusetts, which I am proud to have cosponsored. I am so glad that the House took this step in investing in abortion access, especially as anti-choice states across the country look to eliminate access to abortion care.
Education for the Prevention of the Practice of Female Genital Mutilation
Also included in the House Budget is language that Representative Higgins and I co-filed which includes language and appropriations for the purpose of providing information about the health risks and emotional trauma inflicted by the practice of female genital mutilation, as well as the criminal penalties for committing female genital mutilation.
I secured five local earmarks in the House Budget for:
- BSO July 4th Celebration
- Museum of Science
- West End Museum
- Boston Landmark Orchestra
- Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
I also co-filed two successful amendments to secure funds for:
- Muddy Water Initiative with Rep. Santiago
- Magazine Beach Partners with Rep. Connolly
Thank you to everyone who wrote in to my office advocating for various amendments. I am proud of the FY23 budget that the House produced, and I believe that this budget will bring a lot of relief to those who need it as we continue to recover from the pandemic. If you have any specific questions about the budget, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office.
BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS SUMMER REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!
Summer is almost here and registration is open! Summer stuff is a great resource to find summer schools, camps, programs, activities, and jobs. To find out more, click here. If you need any assistance in registering your child for summer learning, please contact my office or your school’s Family Liaison.
FENWAY PORCHFEST IS AROUND THE CORNER!
Fenway Porchfest is a collaborative effort organized by the Fenway Civic Association, Fenway Alliance, and the Fenway Community Development Corporation. The event takes place throughout the Fenway neighborhood - all outdoors - from the Very Hotel and Time Out Market / 401 Park in the West Fens to the Massachusetts Historical Society and Symphony Community Park in the East Fens. It will take place on July 9th (rain date July 10th) and is a lively event with music of all genres. To volunteer, perform, or attend - you can find out more info by clicking here.
SUFFOLK COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT PAID INTERNSHIP APPLICATION DEADLINE EXTENDED
The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department has announced the extension of the application deadline for the 2022 Summer Enrichment Program by an extra week. The new deadline for submission of applications is set for Friday, May 13th. Click here for more information.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.
In your service,
Jay D. Livingstone