BOSTON – With the end of the Massachusetts Legislature’s 2017-2018 formal sessions on July 31st, several major pieces of legislation were passed by the House and Senate and sent to Governor Charles D. Baker for his review. In addition to balancing the $42 billion Fiscal Year 2019 state budget, the Legislature authorized over $1 billion in economic development funds; passed a $2.4 billion environmental bond authorization; created an automatic voter registration system; enacted comprehensive addiction prevention and treatment legislation to address the opioid epidemic; increased benefits to our veterans and their families; created a requirement to teach civic education in schools; increased the age to purchase tobacco products to 21; and expanded the amount of renewable energy we all use.
Of these, the $2.4 billion environmental bond bill is a top priority for Quincy following the devastating flooding and damage brought on by two winter storms in March of this year. In response to the storm damage, the Quincy delegation successfully advocated for several funding earmarks to be directed to the city for climate mitigation, restoration, and resiliency projects. The legislation includes authorization of $2 million to the city for seawall repair and other citywide storm resiliency improvements; $2 million for dredging the channel along Wollaston Beach in Quincy Bay; $2 million for improvements to Squantum Point park, including to improve the pier to be better equipped for ferry services; and language is included to grant easements to the City of Quincy for flood mitigation along Furnace Brook Parkway and parts of West Quincy. City and state officials have begun planning for the seawall repair project along Adams Shore and Houghs Neck, and held their first community meeting on the proposed plans this past Wednesday, August 15.
“The bond bill demonstrates our continued commitment to maintaining the state’s parks and waterways and protecting our existing natural resources, while also looking to the future by establishing funding to address global warming and climate change impacts across Massachusetts,” said Representative Tackey Chan (D-Quincy). “Especially after the major storms that hit Quincy and other coastal communities this past winter, the state funding included for climate resiliency projects will be a critical asset as the city continues to rebuild and be better prepared against future storms of that magnitude.”
In addition to funding included in the environmental bond authorization, the City of Quincy is set to receive more than $47 million in direct funding from the FY2019 state budget. The city will receive $27,395,085 in Chapter 70 education funding and $19,743,316 in unrestricted local aid. Of the $310.8 million city budget, approximately 15% is directly from the state. The following are additional funds allocated to Quincy in the FY19 Budget:
- Norfolk County Agricultural School: $1,251,353 in education funds
- Manet Community Health Center: $100,000 for their behavioral health program
- 400th anniversary celebration for the City of Quincy: $30,000 for planning purposes
- Quincy’s Department of Elder Affairs: $25,000
- State Police seasonal overtime patrols of Quincy Shore Drive and Furnace Brook Parkway: $95,000
- Quincy Fire Department Hazmat team: $50,000
- Final resting places of John Adams and John Quincy Adams: $30,000 for building safety improvements
- Germantown Neighborhood Center: $50,000
- Quincy Asian Resources, Inc.: $100,000
- Quincy Housing Authority: $75,000 for upgrades to the senior housing security system
- Fore River Club House and Fore River Field: $75,000 for continued upgrading and maintenance
“The Quincy delegation deserves credit for passing a responsible and fiscally sound budget and successfully advocating for additional Quincy funding over the Governor’s veto objections. It was a productive session which will help to ease the burden on the city and improve the quality of life for our residents,” said House Majority Leader Ron Mariano.
As a whole, the FY19 budget, signed into law by Governor Baker at the end of July, increases Chapter 70 education funding by 3.4% to a total of $4.9 billion and commits $319.4 million to the special education circuit breaker. In substance abuse prevention and treatment, $142 million was allocated for direct treatment assistance across the Commonwealth, $1 million for Narcan used by first responders, $5 million for community based treatment programs and $4.9 million to step-down recovery services. The Legislature also funded the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) at $100 million. The early childcare rate reserve will receive $20 million. Additionally, the state was able to increase the stabilization “rainy day” fund to over $1.7 billion. This money helps the state’s bond rating and creditworthiness and is a safety net for state services if our economy takes a downturn.
“The budget process this year focused on increasing opportunities for all the residents of Massachusetts, through efficient and effective programming at the state level, and with a strong commitment to providing funding to our local communities,” said Senator John Keenan. “Working with Representatives Chan, Ayers, Hunt and Majority Leader Mariano, we were able to provide increased funding for Quincy, which will be used for schools, police, fire, local libraries, and critical infrastructure, all of which will strengthen our neighborhoods.”
“I was proud to work with the members of the delegation to advocate for these important budgetary protections for the City of Quincy and its residents,” said Representative Bruce Ayers.
While the Governor vetoed a number of line items that provide financial assistance to Quincy, including funding for public safety and local human services, the legislative delegation worked to achieve an overwhelming override of the Governor’s vetoes. In total, over $47 million of direct funding is committed to the City of Quincy from the Fiscal Year 2019 state budget while an additional $6 million is directed to the city through the environmental bond authorization.