Malden Delegation voted in support of Supplemental Budget, bolstering critical assistance programs and supports for Massachusetts communities
Last week the Malden House Delegation voted to pass H.57, An Act making appropriations for the Fiscal Year 2023 to provide for supplementing certain existing appropriations and for certain other activities and projects. The spending bill updates Governor Maura Healey’s FY23 supplemental budget and continues to support Massachusetts families and residents as they cope with the high cost of living in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic by investing in critical programs addressing food insecurity, emergency housing, and education services.
The $353 million bill, which also includes $585 million worth of bond authorizations, temporarily extends pandemic-era programs that have been a lifeline for many residents. It also invests $86 million in the emergency shelter system to expand the capacity of agencies to meet growing demands for services and provide housing supports to individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Bond authorizations also include $400 million for the MassWorks grant program and $104 million for the Clean Water Trust. Other investments and allocations in the bill will go towards:
- Combatting food insecurity: $130 million will be used for a temporary transition period for residents whose COVID-19 Emergency SNAP benefits will expire in March. The “ramp-down” funding will cover 40% of the supplemental allotments for SNAP for three additional months after the expiration of federal funding; $2 million will be used to reimburse victims of SNAP “skimming”, or other similar fraudulent, electronically based theft, during the period of April 1 through September 30, 2022;
- Funding educational supports: $65 million to sustain the universal school meals program until the end of the 2022-2023 school year; $68 million in Early Education and Care Workforce Stabilization Grants (C3 Grants), which was set to run out of funds in April. These grants are critical for building back the Commonwealth’s early education and care infrastructure.
- Extending pandemic era programs and policies: hybrid meetings of public bodies and virtual town meetings for two more years; establishing electronic notarization as a permanent policy; outdoor dining and cocktails to-go for another year.
“This supplemental spending bill will provide additional investment in local, regional, and statewide programs, services, and resources while addressing rising challenges in a post-pandemic world,” said State Representative Steve Ultrino (D–Malden). “I am particularly grateful to see the significant efforts to address increased food assistance needs in our communities. This bill will provide much needed relief to many of our seniors, families and low-income residents as emergency SNAP benefits expire this month. Thank you again to all … Representative Donato and Lipper-Garabedian, Speaker Ron Mariano, and Chair Michlewitz for the tireless work on this bill.”
“The House has secured funding for an array of important services in this supplemental budget. These important investments will help to improve housing and combat food security. The funding will also strengthen our workforce and improve our educational services,” said Representative Paul Donato (D–Medford). “This bill will be a powerful tool to help residents across the Commonwealth. As always, it was great to work with Representative Lipper-Garabedian and Representative Ultrino, focusing on the most critical needs of the community to build an ever improved Malden and Massachusetts.”
“I was proud to support the House’s FY23 supplemental budget to ensure sufficient resources for state programs – including for food security, emergency housing, and reproductive justice – that are critical to our communities,” said State Representative Kate Lipper-Garabedian (D–Melrose). “The ongoing investment in our early education and childcare workforce grants is a personal priority for me, having heard about and seen directly the critical needs in that sector. Additionally, I was glad to join the House in extending or making permanent a number of pandemic-era flexibilities, including remote reverse mortgage counseling for seniors, fully incorporating a bill I filed to start this legislative session.”
The bill was passed unanimously to be engrossed after the House dispensed with 27 amendments to the bill – with one consolidated amendment. On March 2 the Massachusetts Senate referred the bill to its Ways and Means Committee, and on March 6 that committee recommended to pass the bill with an amendment.