Following a robust debate over three days, the Massachusetts Senate approved a $55.9 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) on Thursday, May 25. As the Commonwealth continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Senate’s budget supports the economic health of the state while upholding fiscal discipline and responsibility. The Senate budget delivers historic levels of investment in education, housing, healthcare, workforce development, climate preparedness and more, as part of a comprehensive strategy to make Massachusetts more affordable, equitable, and inclusive.
“I’m proud that this budget, passed with bipartisan support, will deliver significant resources for our public schools and communities, and make our state more affordable for working families by helping to address the high costs of housing, childcare, college, and healthcare,” said State Senator Jason Lewis. “I want to thank all the advocates and constituents who shared their priorities and helpful feedback with me throughout the budget process.”
The Senate’s FY24 budget includes $1 billion in revenues expected to be generated from the Fair Share Amendment, which was approved by voters last November to strengthen the state’s education and transportation sectors. To safeguard this new source of revenue, the Senate’s budget establishes a dedicated Education and Transportation Fund to account for all Fair Share revenues in an open and transparent manner.
Some highlights of the Senate’s FY24 budget:
- $6.59 billion in Chapter 70 funding for K-12 public education, an increase of $604 million over FY23, ensuring that the state remains on schedule to fully implement the landmark Student Opportunity Act by FY27
- $1.5 billion for early education and child care programs, including $475 million for Commonwealth Cares for Children (C3) grants, to improve quality, access and affordability for families
- Almost $20 billion to fund MassHealth, providing more than 2.3 million people with continued access to affordable, accessible and comprehensive healthcare services
- $1.3 billion to support a spectrum of mental health services and prevention programs for adults and children, including investments in staffing, inpatient placements and supportive housing
- Over $1 billion for housing development and programs that support housing stability, residential assistance and homelessness prevention.
- $100 million to enable the Massachusetts School Building Authority to make supplemental grants to school building projects that experienced unprecedented cost increases due to the pandemic. These projects include Stoneham High School and Northeast Metro Tech.
- Significant new funding for community college and public higher education, as part of a plan to make community college free for all students by the fall of 2024. Undocumented students who graduate from Massachusetts high schools and meet certain other criteria would also become eligible to pay in-state tuition rates at our public colleges and universities.
Senator Lewis was successful in securing $500,000 to fund a variety of local projects and programs in our communities, including funding to help open an inclusive cafe to be operated by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham & Wakefield that will employ adults and teens with developmental disabilities.
The FY24 Senate Budget will be available on the Massachusetts legislature’s website: https://malegislature.gov/Budget/FY2024/SenateBudget. Now a conference committee will be appointed to reconcile differences between the versions of the budget passed by the Senate and House of Representatives (passed unanimously on April 26) before the budget is sent to Governor Maura Healey for her review and approval, vetoes or amendments.