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Council pursuing amendments to Senate Ways & Means budget

The Providers' Council is working with senators on two amendments to the $39.5 Senate Ways & Means budget proposal that was released on Tuesday, May 17.

Senator Michael Rodrigues will file a budget amendment to designate funding for Competitive Integrated Employment Services (CIES) at no less than FY '16 spending levels.

The SWM budget did not include funding specific to CIES, although it did propose $12.5 million in funding for Employment Services Programs (4401-1000). Sen. Rodrigues' amendment would insert language to guarantee that CIES is level-funded, bringing it in line with the FY '17 House budget proposed last month.

Additionally, Sen. Jennifer Flanagan will file a budget amendment to create a pilot education loan repayment program for human services workers. Please use our pre-written letter to ask your senator to co-sponsor this budget amendment.

Amendments to the SWM budget may be filed until 5 p.m. Thursday, May 19, and the Council is urging CIES providers and supporters to call your senators and them to co-sponsor Sen. Rodrigues' budget amendment. The Senate is scheduled to begin debate on the bill on Tuesday, May 24.

The complete Senate budget can be viewed here. The Providers' Council's spreadsheet charting items of relevance to our members can be reviewed here.

In early budget analysis, the Council has noted that, in addition to funding, the Senate's Chapter 257 Reserve line item includes language directing the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to update both the Senate and House committees on Ways & Means and the Executive Office of Administration and Finance as to the progress in setting, funding and reviewing rates. It also calls for "providers to report on the impact of the rate implementations on employee salaries, employee-related costs and operations."

Overall, SWM was largely in line with the human service allocations in Gov. Charlie Baker's H2 budget released in January, which includes moving Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault funding to the Department of Public Health from the Department of Transitional Assistance.

Other notes:

  • $23 million increase for Department of Children and Families to continue the reforms that are being implemented;
  • 8 percent increase for substance abuse program funding (4512-0200);
  • 10 percent increase for Respite and Family Supports (5920-3000) in the Department of Developmental Services - to $62.7 million;
  • Funding eliminated for Elder Enhanced Home Care Services Program (9110-1500); and
  • SWM recommends $1 million less than the House and Governor with regard to the Department of Mental Health's Inpatient Facilities and Community-Based Mental Health Services line item (5095-0015).

If you have questions about the budget or the amendments the Council is pursuing, please contact Bill Yelenak.