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Worcester’s Senator Chandler Breaks Down State’s FY2016 Budget

Thursday, May 14, 2015


On Wednesday, Senator Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester) announced that the Senate Committee on Ways and Means released a $38.01 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2016. This budget represents a 3.1% increase from FY2015 and aims to make investments to create opportunities and strengthen economic growth.

“The FY16 budget reflects shared Senate values along with policy concerns voiced by citizens from the statewide Commonwealth Conversations Tour hosted by the Senate earlier this year,” said Chandler. “The budget makes investments in the areas of local aid, education, workforce and economic development, human services, health, criminal justice reform, and intergovernmental collaboration.”

Here is a full breakdown of the FY2016 Budget:

Local Aid for Cities and Towns:

  • $4.51B for Chapter 70 education aid, allowing for a minimum increase of $25 per pupil and bringing school districts closer to their target spending through 50% effort reduction.
  • $979.8M for Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) for community investments in education, public safety, roads and bridges and health care.
  • $271.6M to fully fund the Special Education Circuit Breaker for the 4th straight year.
  • $7.5M for the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism and $5M for Local Tourist Councils.
  • $12M for the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Investment in Education:

  • $17.9M total increase for Department of Early Education and Care accounts, including
  • $12M to reduce the waitlist for childcare services and $14.8M for the Children’s Trust Fund Healthy Families program.
  • $1.5M for the STEM Pipeline Fund.
  • $1.5M for the Massachusetts Computing Attainment Network (MassCAN) initiative.
  • $2.8M for the Connecting Activities public-private partnership that links high school students with hands-on learning opportunities, mentoring and job placement.
  • $12.5M increase for State Universities and Community Colleges and $19.3M increase for the University of Massachusetts.

Support for Low-Income Families and Indivduals and Recipients of Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA):

  • $12.1M for the Employment Services Program to help individuals find jobs and resolve barriers to employment, including skills training and job search assistance.
  • $5M for the Pathways to Self-Sufficiency Program.
  • An increase to the clothing allowance for needy families to $200 per child, the highest in the history of this stipend.
  • A new $1M Family Well-Being Plan pilot program to promote educational and employment opportunities for participants exempt from the DTA work requirement.

Support for Unemployed and Underemployed:

  • $2M for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund to train unemployed and low-wage workers for high demand industries.
  • $1.2M for a new Training Resources and Internship Networks (TRAIN) grant program to specifically target the long-term unemployed through partnerships with community colleges to provide training and internship opportunities.
  • $11.5M for the Youth-At-Risk Summer Jobs program.

Driving Economic Growth:

  • $15M for the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center out of the consolidated net surplus.
  • $3M for the Innovation Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.
  • $1.5M for the Big Data Innovation and Workforce Fund.
  • $1.5M for the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership and $945K for a Precision Manufacturing Program.
  • $750K for Regional Economic Development Grants.

Investments in Housing Solutions:

  • $154.9M for Emergency Assistance Family Shelters.
  • $85.4M for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program to fund between 600 and 750 new rental assistance vouchers.
  • $44.7M for Homeless Individuals Assistance.
  • $4.5M for the Alternative Housing Voucher Program, the rental assistance program for people with disabilities.
  • $2M for housing and supportive services for unaccompanied homeless youth.
  • A new $7M reserve to fund flexible short-term assistance to divert homeless families, or families at risk of becoming homeless, from shelters to stable housing.

Investments in Substance Abuse Prevention, Recovery and Treatment:

  • $10M for the Substance Abuse Trust Fund to fund a range of treatment services, including detoxification, clinical stabilization, transitional support, residential services and outpatient treatment.
  • $5M for more than 150 new clinical stabilization beds.
  • $1.5M for grants to school districts to hire mental health and substance abusecounselors.
  • $3.1M for Recovery High Schools, including $1M to establish two new schools.
  • A new Municipal Naloxone Bulk Purchase Program to allow municipalities to purchase the lifesaving overdose reversal drug commonly referred to as Narcan at discounted rates.

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