FY’24 State Budget Highlights

Below is a breakdown of Rep. Dave Rogers’ state budget highlights for FY’24.

Local Investments

Arlington received $18,703,409 in Chapter 70 education funding, a 17% increase from last year’s budget, and $9,069,495 in Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA), a 3% increase from last year. Various local organizations and initiatives in Arlington also received funding. This includes:

  • $125,000 for the renovation of the town center park in Arlington
  • $100,000 for the installation of a veterans memorial in Arlington
  • $50,000 to Food Link, Inc. to address food insecurity in Arlington and nearby towns
  • $50,000 for the Arlington Chamber of Commerce
  • $50,000 to the Arlington Historical Society
  • $20,000 for technical development and collaboration between food agencies in Arlington; and
  • $15,000 for the Arlington Community Orchard.

Belmont received $11,784,535 in Chapter 70 education funding, a 16% increase from FY’23. The budget also fully funds the special education circuit breaker, and a state package to help address out-of-district special education rates is still being discussed. In UGGA, Belmont was given $2,699,247, a 3.2% increase. Other Belmont investments include:

  • $400,000 for the recruitment, retention, and compensation of kindergarten assistants in public schools in town. Senator Brownsberger and I helped secure this funding to help temporarily alleviate pressures caused by the 14% increase in special education rates
  • $120,000 for costs related to the demolition of Skip Viglirolo ice rink (including the cost of renting ice for the school while the new rink is being constructed)
  • $50,000 for treescape maintenance.

In Cambridge, the Legislature approved a 6.4% increase in Chapter 70 education funding, totaling at $19,728,183. In addition to this, UGGA funding increased from $24,885,651 in FY’23 to $25,681,992 in FY’24, a 3.2% increase. Other investments impacting Cambridge include:

  • $50,000 for the Just-A-Start Corporation for the economic mobility hub at Rindge Commons in the North Cambridge 
  • $300,000 shall be expended to the Cambridge Housing Authority for the Stable Housing and Reintegration Program (SHARP) to provide reentry housing and support services for formerly incarcerated individuals and their families in partnership with Justice 4 Housing
  • $100,000 for capital improvements to the Cambridge Community Center and for the expansion of the community-based behavioral health program
  • $50,000 for a carbon footprint study for death care at the Mount Auburn cemetery
  • $50,000 for Just-A-Start Corporation’s biomedical careers program
  • $30,000 shall be expended for Cambridge Holistic Emergency Alternative Response Team (HEART) to help address the needs of people in crisis
  • $25,000 for the Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee, Inc. to support anti-poverty programming
  • $25,000 for East End House, Inc. to promote the well-being, academic achievement and successful transition to adulthood of children and youth from under-resourced families
  • $25,000 for Transition House to help provide domestic violence resources
  • $25,000 for The Margaret Fuller-Neighborhood House.

The budget also included $100,000 for the Mystic River Watershed Association, Inc. to study the effects of dredging and identify solutions around the Alewife brook. I describe this study in the body of my September newsletter.

Higher Education Highlights

As Chair of the Committee on Higher Education, I am excited to share some of the excellent ways our FY’24 budget will impact students. Many of these initiatives would not be possible without $500 million in Fair Share Amendment (FSA) revenue.

  • Guaranteed In-state Tuition for Undocumented Immigrants, as well as access to state-funded financial aid. As I discussed last month, this policy is expected to help expand access to higher education while boosting state revenue.
  • $20 million for MassReconnect, a program that will provide students 25 or older with a free community college education. This brand-new program is a big step forward in assuring all, regardless of income, have the ability to pursue a college degree. 
  • $84 million increase to the MassGrant Plus program, which enables low-income, in-state undergraduate students to attend public colleges and universities without worrying about mandatory tuition and fees. This is the largest increase in the scholarship program’s history.
  • $25 million for the High Demand Scholarship Program, championed by Speaker Mariano, which provides scholarships to public college and university students studying in high-demand fields, such as education, healthcare, and STEM.
  • $18 million for scholarships for nurses attending community college, which will help provide much-needed support to our healthcare industry and its future workforce. This will make getting an Associate of Science in Nursing free.

Environment Highlights

Climate change has been and remains perhaps the single most pressing issue of our times in our Commonwealth and across the globe.  I remain steadfastly committed to helping make a difference. That is why this year’s budget includes an overall 56% increase in funding for environmental-related items over FY’23, including Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) funding for which I helped advocate. Some of highlights include:

  • $194.3 million for the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to help protect and enhance environmental resources while enhancing clean energy initiatives.
  • $157.2 million for the Department of Conservation and Recreation to maintain our state parks and recreational areas.
  • $85.4 million for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), furthering efforts to protect air and water quality, including from contaminants like PFAS.
  • $8.8 million for Environmental Justice initiatives, helping protect all residents’ access to clean air, water, and open space. This represents a $7.5 million increase from FY’23.

Housing Highlights

Since I was first elected in 2012, I have been committed to helping those experiencing the threat of eviction, housing insecurity, and homelessness. Various factors, from the pandemic and the migrant crisis to the opioid epidemic and inflation, contribute to Massachusetts’ housing crisis. While there are many approaches to solving this crisis, one thing is clear: our most vulnerable residents need our help. That’s why our budget’s investments in housing, including those highlighted below, are so important.

  • $324 million for the Emergency Assistance Shelter System to assist families in emergent and transitional periods.
  • $190 million for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), which is our state’s primary program for supporting those facing eviction and loss of utilities.
  • Extending Chapter 257 (pandemic-era) eviction protections for renters with pending emergency rental assistance applications (like RAFT) as to assure those in need have time to get aid.
  • $180 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), which helps provide rental subsidies to families and individuals most in need.
  • $110 million for programs to aid those impacted by homelessness across the Commonwealth.

Criminal Justice Reform Highlights

In recent years, the Legislature has been working hard to reform our criminal justice and prison systems. One of the greatest examples of this is the Police Reform Law passed in 2020, which made necessary and sensible changes to officer training and certification practices. In this year’s budget, we advanced a number of important spending items in this area including:

  • Approval of No Cost Calls for Incarcerated Persons, which is expected to aid rehabilitation and reduce recidivism by keeping families connected even while incarcerated. As a longtime advocate for this measure, I am so glad to see it supported across the Legislature.
  • $32.76 million for Re-Entry Programming that connects incarcerated persons with educational opportunities.
  • $15 million for a Community Empowerment and Reinvestment Grant Program which will provide economic aid to communities disproportionately impacted by the justice system.

Workforce Development Highlights

We made many key workforce development investments, like those highlighted below:

  • $22.2 million to YouthWorks, a job program for at-risk youth between ages 14 and 25.
  • $20 million for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, which helps connect workers with skills for industries in need.
  • $15.4 million to support Career Technical Institutes for high school students and adults exploring over 20 career pathways.
  • $3.8 million to support registered apprenticeship models in new and existing industries.

Public Health Highlights

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed, among many things, the great importance of having a strong public health system. This year’s budget makes available much-needed funding for a wide variety of health-related programs, including:

  • $19.81 billion, a historic investment for MassHealth, which provides much-needed health care coverage to low-income residents in need.
  • $2.9 billion to help us better support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs). This figure includes funds to help better train healthcare students on how to treat individuals with IDDs.
  • $2 million to help protect and expand reproductive health access and infrastructure.
  • Codifies protection of preventative services, such as HIV prevention and cancer screenings, under the Affordable Care Act. This action has been increasingly called for due to court rulings in other states which jeopardize such care.

Mental Health Highlights

Last year, when the Legislature passed An Act Addressing Barriers to Care for Mental Health, we made a commitment to protect and expand access to mental health care for everyone. We also made specific commitments to treat fairly those seeking substance use disorder treatment. These actions, which I actively supported, were a long time coming. Now, with the FY’24 budget, we are building on this success with these investments:

  • $600 million for Adult Mental Health and Support Services, which includes funding to expand the Department of Mental Health (DMH) jail diversion program and the Therapy Matcher program, as well as funding for safe haven housing and rental subsidies for DMH clients and more.
  • $219 million for the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services (BSAS), with funds committed to a variety of life-saving programs, including those that do workforce outreach on addiction, for supportive housing programs, opening new recovery centers, and more.
  • $192 million for the Behavioral Health Trust Fund, which covers a wide variety of programming, including for behavioral health workers’ loan repayment programs, clinical supervision programs for clinicians in-training, a public awareness campaign to promote the no-cost annual mental health checkup, and more.
  • $120.6 million for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, including programs that support child psychiatry access, school-based behavioral health assistance, and more.

Road and Transportation Highlights

Many of these initiatives are funded by the other half ($500 million of $1 billion) in estimated Fair Share Amendment revenues. I am hopeful that, despite the large problems plaguing the MBTA and other transportation agencies, over time these funds will make a significant difference. Highlights include:

  • $184 million for Regional Transit Authorities, helping to connect all parts of our Commonwealth.
  • $181 million for MBTA capital projects, to assure the safety and efficiency of every ride.
  • $100 million for road and bridge repairs to guarantee safety.
  • $5 million for MBTA means-tested fares to test how this program could be implemented.

Early, Elementary and Secondary Education Highlights

Last, but certainly not least, I want to highlight funding for our early, elementary, and secondary education systems.  I am happy to report that the FY’24 budget includes investments like:

  • Permanent, free universal school meals for all students, assuring no child goes hungry.
  • $6.59 billion in total Chapter 70 education funding for the cities and towns across the Commonwealth.
  • $504.5 million for the Special Education Circuit Breaker, which helps support public schools with costs related to special education, bringing it to full funding levels. This is a $63.5 million from FY’23.
  • $475 million for the Commonwealth Cares for Children (C3) grants, helping to maintain much-needed wage growth in the industry.
  • $17.5 million for Head Start grants to assure full coverage care for families.
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Contact Dave

Please never hesitate to contact me for any reason.

Phone: 617-722-2263
Email: dave.rogers@mahouse.gov
Mail: State House Room 473B, Boston, MA 02133