Representative Joseph McGonagle, along with his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, recently passed the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) budget. This budget responsibly responds to the needs of residents and makes targeted investments to support the Commonwealth’s families. Funded at $49.73 billion, the House’s FY23 budget continues its strong commitment to cities and towns, and it includes significant investments in health care, education, housing and workforce development, among other priorities. Everett will receive $100,000 for substance abuse counselors, $100,000 for a first-time homebuyers program and $100,000 for the construction of a boathouse on the Malden River.
“The House budget responds to the economic challenges currently facing Massachusetts residents by balancing a focus on immediate needs such as workforce development, with a focus on long-term investments that are designed to grow our economy in a sustainable way,” said House Speaker Ronald Mariano. “I want to thank Chairman Michlewitz for his indispensable guidance, as well as the Committee on Ways and Means and my colleagues in the House for their tireless hard work.”
Mariano and the House Ways and Means Committee introduced their FY23 budget on April 13, following a review of the Governor’s proposal and a series of budget hearings. After three days of debate and over a thousand proposed amendments, the budget passed the House of Representatives 155-0, and it now goes to the Senate for their consideration.
“I am thrilled with how we did this year in the budget, both specifically in Everett and across the Commonwealth,” said McGonagle. “In collaboration with the City, we determined three projects we’d like to get funding for in the coming year. Each of these address concerns of different groups that make up our awesome community. As always, I am grateful to Speaker Mariano, Chair Michlewitz and the rest of my colleagues for working together to pass funding for critical issues in Massachusetts. I look forward to continuing to represent Everett and bringing our neighbors the care they deserve.”
“This budget builds off the successes of the last few years and prioritizes our residents,” said Representative Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston), who is Chairperson of the House Committee on Ways and Means. “By reinvesting in the people of the Commonwealth we will continue to assist those recovering from this pandemic while making our economy stronger and more equitable for years to come. I want to thank Speaker Mariano for his leadership during this budget process, as well as my Vice-Chair Ann-Margaret Ferrante, and the entire membership for their thoughts and guidance over the last few months to make this a more successful and well-rounded budget.”
The House FY23 budget expands services without raising taxes and is made possible due to strong revenue collections and increased federal reimbursement. Due to responsible financial leadership, the state’s Stabilization Fund is estimated to stand at $6.55 billion.
The FY23 House budget includes an unprecedented $912M to fund early education and care (EEC). Continuing its longstanding commitment to invest in the workforce, the budget includes a $70M in rate increases for subsidized child care providers across the Commonwealth, representing a $50M increase over FY22. It also includes a new initiative funded at $10M to pay for child care for early educators. Following the recommendations issued by the Special Legislative Early Education and Care Economic Review Commission, the budget includes language requiring the Department of Early Education and Care to base reimbursement on enrollment rather than attendance. EEC funding initiatives include:
- $16.5M for Head Start grants
- $15M for child care resource and referral agencies
- $10M for EEC higher education provider opportunities
- $5M to provide additional navigation support and outreach to families
- $3M for early childhood mental health grants
- $1M for Neighborhood Villages to provide bilingual workforce training, instructional coaching and COVID-19 testing
The FY23 House budget funds Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) at $1.199 billion and Chapter 70 education funding at $5.988 billion, representing a $494M increase over the FY22 budget and fully funding the second year of a six-year implementation plan of the Student Opportunity Act (SOA), which was enacted in 2019 to support equitable funding for our most vulnerable students.
The budget also provides $110M for a year-long extension of universal school meals, providing immediate relief to families by saving them up to $1,200 every year from reduced grocery expenditures, according to the Feed Kids Coalition. Additional education funding allocations include:
- $440M for Special Education Circuit Breaker
- $243M for charter school aid – fully funding charter school reimbursement
- $77M for regional transportation
- $22M for homeless student transportation
The House budget invests in higher education by allocating $653M for the University of Massachusetts system, $337M for community colleges and $326M for state universities. Building on Speaker Mariano’s priority to ensure Massachusetts residents from diverse backgrounds have access to meaningful educational opportunities, the budget also includes a $25.5M increase in scholarship funding over the last fiscal year for a new total of $156M, and it funds the Supporting Urgent Community College Equity through Student Services (SUCCESS) Fund at $14M and the STEM Starter Academy (SSA) program at $4.75M.
The budget also includes large investments in youth engagement programs, job training and workforce development, including:
- $60M for adult education to support English Language Learners and adults working towards their GED
- $28.3M for the YouthWorks jobs program to fund over 6,000 summer and year-round jobs for youths in low-wage-earning and fixed-income families
- $25.7M for workforce support for K-12 schools
- $20.4M for Career Technical Institutes to train workers and allow them to close skills gaps and meet the needs of businesses across the Commonwealth
- $17M for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund
- $15M for One-Stop Career Centers to connect individuals with training and employers
- $1M investment in Learn to Earn
- $1M for the 1199SEIU Training and Upgrading Fund
Additionally, the House budget invests in programs across departments to support workforce equity in Massachusetts that help diverse communities and employers succeed. New initiatives include:
- $20M for a loan forgiveness program within the Department of Mental Health to support their workforce
- $15M to support teachers of color, including $7.5M for the Tomorrow’s Teachers program to provide scholarships to people committed to teaching in public schools and $7.5M for loan repayment for teachers of color
- $10M for loan repayment and bonuses for the homeless shelter workforce that continue to provide critical services to the most vulnerable populations
- $1M for a public awareness campaign to ensure all communities can use these programs
The Commonwealth’s commitment to MassHealth remains one of the largest drivers of the budget. In FY23 the House is providing $18.40 billion to fully fund its caseload, which has increased as more residents have become eligible during the pandemic. The House’s FY23 budget accurately reflects this enrollment growth due to the federal extension of the public health emergency, showing the necessary increase in spending beyond what was included in the Governor’s budget proposal, while also factoring in the increased Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) reimbursement levels.
The budget prepares for the transition of individuals from MassHealth to the Health Connector when the federal public health emergency ends by providing $50M for a Connector Care Pilot Program, which uses savings from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to fund subsidized health insurance plans for members who are at between 300%-500% of the federal poverty level (FPL) for two years. It also invests $37M to expand eligibility for the Medicare Savings Program to 250 percent FPL.
The House FY23 budget invests in the human services workforce who provide services to our most vulnerable, including $230M for Chapter 257 rates for health and human service workers, $40M to continue higher rate add-ons and ensure a smaller wage cliff between FY22 and FY23 for home health aides and homemakers and $1M for the Nursing and Allied Health Workforce Development program. Additional investments include funding for programming such as the Elder Mental Health Outreach Teams, the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative Expansion, nine Elder Supportive Housing Sites and the Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone (SHINE) program. The budget fully funds Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children at $343M, as well as Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children at $137M.
The House budget reflects the commitment to supporting health and behavioral health needs across the Commonwealth. Investments include:
- $10M to expand emergency diversion boarding programs within the Department of Mental Health
- $188.6M for the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services
- $12.5M for behavioral health supports
- $48.3M for early intervention services, with dedicated funding to help its workforce recover from the pandemic
The House FY23 budget includes funding for housing and homelessness prevention, investing $150M for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), $140M for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), $100M for homeless individuals, $92M for housing authority subsidies and $59.4M for HomeBASE
The budget funds the Department of Developmental Services at $2.44 billion – aimed to support individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. That includes $278.4M for Community Day and Work Programs, $90.6M for respite services, $42.3M in autism supports and services, $33.9M in transportation services, $13.9M for the autism division and $1.8M for supportive technology for individuals.
Criminal justice system
To ensure every resident has equal access to the criminal justice system, the House’s FY23 budget includes a $824.6M investment in the Trial Court, $39.5M for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation and increases for Prisoners’ Legal Services and Mental Health Legal Advisors. The budget also upholds commitments made by the Legislature’s criminal justice reform, such as $11.3M for community-based residential reentry programs, and it establishes an Employment Services Division within Probation funded at $2.2M. Other investments include:
- $24M for reentry and recidivism reduction programs
- $5.8M for five new commissions created by the police reform law and a police reform reserve
- $11.6M for the Municipal Police Training Council, which will provide standardized training to all sworn law enforcement officers
- $2M for a new pilot program to provide rent subsidies to formerly incarcerated individuals returning to the community
- $27.5M for probation community corrections centers
- $11.2M for residential reentry programs
- $6M for the Emerging Adults Recidivism Reduction Grant Program
- $3.8M for the Demonstration Workforce Development program
- $3.6M for the creation of two new After Incarceration Support Centers – modeled off the Hampden County Center
For the first time ever, the House FY23 budget removes barriers to communication services for incarcerated persons and their loved ones. The Department of Correction (DOC), sheriffs and the Department of Youth Services (DYS) must provide phone calls free of charge to persons receiving and persons initiating phone calls and other services, such as video or electronic communications. The newly created Communications Access Trust Fund includes $20M in initial funding to make payments to DOC, sheriffs and DYS to cover the cost of providing these free services.
The budget also eliminates probation and parole fees to reduce the burden on individuals during their reentry process. Currently, individuals pay $50 per month for administrative supervised probation fees, $65 per month for probation supervision fees and $80 per month in parole fees.
The budget also continues the House’s focus on environmental and climate protection by investing $349.7M for environmental services, which include funding increases for state parks, environmental protection and fisheries and wildlife. Additional measures include promoting electric vehicles and funding for environmental justice and climate adaptation and preparedness.