BOSTON – The Massachusetts House of Representatives last Thursday voted 150-4 to pass a $41.515 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2019. The vote came after four days of debate and deliberation on 1,400 amendments that had been filed to the original budget recommendation made by the House Ways and Means Committee. In total, the FY2019 budget sees a 3.1% increase over funding levels from the previous year, with MassHealth and local aid to cities and towns making up the two largest expenditures. Quincy’s House delegation, Majority Leader Ron Mariano, State Representative Tackey Chan, State Representative Bruce Ayers, and State Representative Dan Hunt, successfully advocated for more than $47.6 million for the City of Quincy in FY2019; this includes $27.3 million in Chapter 70 education funding for Quincy Public Schools and $19.7 million of unrestricted general assistance to the City of Quincy.
In addition to education and general assistance, Quincy received funding for several human services organizations. $100,000 is committed to Manet Community Health Center for an integrated behavioral health program. Two Quincy-based community multi-service agencies were also funded, with $100,000 for Quincy Asian Resources, Inc. and $50,000 for Germantown Neighborhood Center. Both of these agencies provide important direct services to the community, particularly youth, low-income, immigrant and low-English speaking populations. The Quincy Council on Aging received $25,000 to support the continuation of their programs.
The House delegation also secured funding for a number of important local public safety programs. Quincy Fire Department’s Hazmat Program received $50,000. Additionally, $75,000 was allocated for Quincy Housing Authority to install security cameras in senior housing facilities, part of a larger project to improve security for elderly and disabled residents in public housing. The delegation was successful in increasing funding to the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office and increased the base Assistant District Attorney salaries to $46,000. The State Police received $95,000 for dedicated seasonal overtime patrols for Wollaston Beach and Furnace Brook Parkway.
“I was pleased to work with my colleagues in the House to pass a Fiscal Year 2019 budget including significant increases in local aid and education funding for Quincy, as well as additional funding for a number of worthwhile local programs. In my district, $75,000 included for the Fore River Clubhouse will help with ongoing efforts to modernize the building and complete improvements to the fields. The Clubhouse has always been a community asset for the residents of Ward 2 and I want to see it remain that way for the next generation,” said Representative Ron Mariano (D-Quincy). “I was also pleased to include, as we have for several years now, $50,000 for the fire department hazmat response team, to help ensure that their training and equipment is kept up to date and the unit is prepared should a situation arise.”
Pursuant to the metropolitan beaches commission’s recommendations, of which Quincy is a participant, $900,000 is committed to seasonal support and regular infrastructure improvements for beaches in the Greater Boston metropolitan area. The Blue Hills Trailside Museum is also funded at $50,000. It was a priority for the delegation to continue to support these local projects and services that enhance Quincy residents’ lives and are places for all our families and neighbors to enjoy.
“Each of these projects and service organizations play an important role in Quincy residents’ lives and I’m happy to see the Commonwealth demonstrate a continued investment in our local communities in the FY19 budget,” said Representative Tackey Chan (D-Quincy). “I see every day the value of the services that these community organizations, municipal agencies, and law enforcement offices provide for constituents, especially our youth in Quincy, and am proud to be a voice for them at the State House.”
Also notable in the FY2019 budget is an increased focus on substance abuse treatment and mitigation, mental health services, and programs for persons with disabilities. The Bureau of Substance Abuse Addiction Services is funded at $137.1 million, which includes funding for 5 new recovery centers across the Commonwealth. Another $5 million has been allocated specifically for jail diversion programs and community-based treatment. In total, the Department of Mental Health budget was increased by more than 12% to $870 million, and disabilities services funding increased by $8.5 million.
"I'm proud to have worked with the Quincy delegation to bring in necessary funding that benefits important programs in our district," said Representative Bruce Ayers (D-Quincy). "The FY19 state budget focuses our resources on critical areas including public education, public safety, serving our seniors, and addressing the opiate crisis. Quincy has commanded a significant amount of this funding, and our constituents are well-served thanks to these programs and organizations."
The Fiscal Year 2019 budget will be debated in the State Senate in late May.