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Mass Budget Headed to Gov. Baker for Signature

The House and Senate approved the FY '16 Conference Committee budget by wide margins on Wednesday, July 8, sending it to Governor Charlie Baker for his signature or veto.

The Conference Committee's spending plan remained fairly consistent with the Governor's original FY '16 budget proposal in terms of EOHHS line items. Additionally, the Providers' Council was pleased to see funding of "not less than $2,000,000" for Competitive Integrated Employment Services (CIES) included in the final Conference Committee budget proposal.

This funding and language in the Conference Committee budget will help support our members preparing people for work in communities throughout the Commonwealth. The Council thanks our members for their advocacy on this important issue. 

There were some differences in other human services line items as well. Several items of note included:

Department of Youth Services: Residential Services for Detained Population (4200-0200): This line item stayed consistent with Governor Baker's initial proposal during both the Senate and House recommendations. The Conference Committee budget is the first to increase this line item during the FY '16 budget process, giving it about a 5% increase over FY '15.

Department of Developmental Services: Transportation Services (5911-2000): The House had listed this line item higher than both Governor Baker and the Senate. The Conference Committee budget is consistent with the House budget, funding this line item at almost $22 million.

Department of Children and Families: DCF Family Resource Center (4800-0200): Governor Baker increased this line item by 41% from FY '15 -- an increase from about $5 million to about $7.4 million. The House and Senate continued this increase by funding it at about $6,000 more. The slight increase in the House and Senate is consistent with the Conference Committee budget.

Department of Veterans Services: Veterans' Benefits (1410-0400): Governor Baker, the House and the Senate all proposed an increase of about $3 million or 4.07% above FY '15 projected spending levels. The Conference Committee budget kept this amount the same.

Department of Early Education and Care: Services for Infants and Parents (3000-7050): The House funded this line item at about 28% above FY '15 spending levels, while Governor Baker kept it level with FY '15 and the Senate funded it about 12% above FY '15. Ultimately, this line item came in just $1 million shy of the House's budget proposal, being funded at $21.3 million -- about $4 million higher than the FY '15 projected spending levels.

Department of Transitional Assistance: Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (4408-1000): Both the Governor and the Senate proposed a 7.6% decrease from FY' 15 to this line item. The House funded it slightly higher resulting in a 5.14% decrease from FY '15. Ultimately, the Conference Committee went with the funding level of about $78.88 million, consistent with the Governor and Senate.

Department of Elder Affairs: Elder Home Care Purchased Services (9110-1630): The Governor and Senate recommended level funding this line item at $106.7 million, while the House proposed a slight cut of 2.9% to $103.6 million. The Conference Committee budget recommended funding the line item at $104.6 million, a 1.94% cut from FY '15 projected spending.

Department of Public Health: HIV/AIDS Prevention Treatment and Services (4512-0103): The Governor cut funding to HIV/AIDS Prevent Treatment and Services by about 7%. The Conference Committee budget, however, increased this line item more than 10% over the Governor's recommendation and nearly $1 million over FY '15 projected spending.

Department of Mental Health: Emergency Services and Mental Health Care (5047-0001): This line item was cut by 22.75% compared to FY '15 in all three budgets recommendations and remains at $24.2 million -- a $7 million projected cut -- in the Conference Committee budget.

Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission: Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind (4110-3010): The Governor and Senate proposed a 8.24 percent cut from FY '15 projected spending, but the House proposed an increase of 1.92 from FY '15 spending, and spending levels 11% higher than the Governor and Senate. The Conference Committee agreed to fund the higher amount proposed by the Senate.

To view the full Conference Committee proposal, click here. To view the line items the Council is currently tracking, click here. Please contact Bill Yelenak if you have any questions or concerns about individual line items or the budget in general.