BOSTON – The Massachusetts Legislature last week passed a balanced $43.1 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2020, with major investments in education, affordable housing and homelessness prevention, mental health and substance use disorder programs, and health care. The agreement reached between the House and Senate includes significant increases in funding over the previous year, including an increase of $269 million to Chapter 70 education funding, an additional $29.6 million for unrestricted local aid to cities and towns, a combined $249.4 million for housing and homelessness prevention programs – including the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program, Public Housing Subsidies, Alternative Housing Voucher Program, and Homeless individual shelters – and $150.2 million for the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services, which will help create five new recovery centers across the state. The City of Quincy is set to receive $50.4 million in direct funding from the state, about 15.3% of the City’s overall $329 million budget; this includes $28.6 million in Chapter 70 education funding and $20.27 million in unrestricted general assistance from the state.
“The House and Senate have come together to pass a responsible and fiscally sound annual budget that addresses many important shared priorities. My colleagues in the Quincy delegation should be proud of the work we have accomplished and the increased investments made in local aid, education funding and housing and homelessness prevention. We also made a significant deposit into the rainy day fund which will help us prepare for the inevitable next economic downturn,” said Majority Leader Ron Mariano. “Several local programs in Quincy received direct funding to help carry out their mission, including an additional $75,000 allocated towards the ongoing renovations at the Fore River Clubhouse in Ward 2.”
“We’re very proud in this year’s budget to have ensured once again that important state resources come to the City of Quincy, while balancing a fiscally responsible budget and adding to our state stabilization fund in case of a “rainy day,” said State Representative Tackey Chan. “We have funded local aid and Chapter 70 at record numbers while seeing that our human service agencies, public safety programs, and health care providers continue to succeed. Along with the other members of the Quincy delegation, I’m proud to be able to continue our support of the many local organizations that depend on state funding and make up the vibrant Quincy community that we live in.”
In addition to major investments in programs, services, and infrastructure improvements across the state, the FY20 budget includes a projected $476 million deposit to the state’s Stabilization Fund, or “rainy day” fund, in order to ensure the stability of state programs during future economic slowdowns; with the increase, this brings the balance to more than $3 billion. With increased revenue projections, an additional $23 million will be directed to the MBTA, in addition to $127 million in base funding.
“By focusing on local aid, public education, health care, workforce development and housing, we are giving our local cities and towns the tools they need to foster healthy, vibrant, and safe communities,” said Senator John Keenan. “I’m proud to have worked with my collogues from the Quincy delegation to deliver resources that will help fund public safety improvements, housing initiatives, community health programs and other essential local services.”
“I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues in the Quincy delegation to secure a budget that provides necessary funding to the city of Quincy,” said Representative Bruce Ayers. “We advocated for and received strong numbers in education and local aid assistance, while also securing important funds for organizations and projects that help move Quincy forward. I’m particularly pleased with the monies we secured to help Manet Community Health Center plan for providing urgent care services, as well as the funding for improvements to the pier structure at Squantum Point Park. This is a huge help as we continue to advocate for an alternative means of transportation for Quincy and South Shore residents, with the ultimate goal of bringing a full-time dedicated ferry to Squantum Point Park.”
The FY20 budget includes numerous investments in local programs in Quincy, advocated for by Quincy’s legislative delegation which includes House Majority Leader Ron Mariano, Senator John Keenan, Representative Tackey Chan, Representative Bruce Ayers, and Representative Dan Hunt. $150,000 is allocated for Quincy Asian Resources, Inc., to continue to support the agency’s programs focused on workforce development, ESOL education, youth engagement, and other critical services for Quincy’s immigrant communities. In addition, $50,000 was allocated to Germantown Neighborhood Center, which provides important after-school and community services to youth and low-income residents. Manet Community Health Center is set to receive $100,000 to begin development of a new urgent care facility at the North Quincy Health Center.
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. $75,000 is dedicated to interior improvements at Fore River Clubhouse. The Quincy delegation also successfully advocated for $100,000 for pier improvements at Squantum Point Park, as part of ongoing upgrades to make ferry service more accessible.
The delegation also secured funding for a number of important local public safety programs. Quincy Fire Department’s Hazmat Program received $50,000 and Quincy Housing Authority received $75,000 to complete the second phase of security upgrades in senior housing facilities. An additional $50,000 has been allocated to study the feasibility of upgrading the fire suppression system at the resting place of U.S. presidents in the City of Quincy.
As a whole, the FY20 budget continues the state’s commitment to ensuring children have access to high-quality early education and care, by increasing rates for early education providers by $20 million and supporting continuing education opportunities at community colleges. Housing and homelessness funding also saw major increases, with $116 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program; $72 million for Public Housing Subsidies, $8 million for Alternative Housing Voucher Program; and $53.4 million for Homeless individual shelters. Following on increases last year, the Legislature once again prioritized mental health and substance abuse treatment and mitigation, funding the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services at $150.2 million which will help create five new recovery centers across Massachusetts. Also included is a $50 million increase in the supplemental rates for nursing homes across the Commonwealth, as well as an emergency task force aimed at helping to bring stability to the industry. In addition, $125,000 has been allocated to assist with preparations for the National Guard’s 2020 national conference, which will be held in Massachusetts next year for the first time since 1994.
With the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census, the final budget also included significant investments in local outreach efforts, with $2.75 million allocated to the Secretary of the Commonwealth for technical assistance and an additional $2.5 million funding the Complete Count Grant Program. Complete Count will support outreach efforts in cities and towns across Massachusetts, particularly among minority and immigrant communities that are at risk of being undercounted, to ensure an accurate count of all residents in the 2020 Census.
The final Fiscal Year 2020 budget now goes to Governor Baker to be signed into law.