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Senate Ways & Means Releases Budget Recommendations

The Senate Ways & Means Committee unveiled its FY '16 budget recommendations on May 13, focusing on "lifting all families" by investing in education, workforce development and skills training, and helping vulnerable and under-served populations.

The Committee proposed a $38.01 billion budget, with about $588 million coming from retained revenue. To look at the entire budget proposal, click here.

The Council took note that Employment Services Programs (4401-1000), which House Committee on Ways & Means cut by nearly 58 percent and then later restored through amendments, was increased by about 3 percent in the Senate Ways & Means budget. However, the line item as it currently reads does not include an earmark for the Competitive Integrated Employment Services (CIES) program, which provides vocational training and job placement services for those with barriers to employment.

Several other items of note include:

Department of Youth Services: Residential Services for Committed Population (4200-0300): The Senate proposed a decrease of about $3 million compared to the final House budget -- a 1 percent increase over the Governor's budget.

Department of Developmental Services: Respite and Family Support (5920-3000), Transportation Services(5911-2000) and Adult Autism (5920-3020):  The Senate kept respite and family services in line with the Governor's proposed spending of about $18.9 million after the House's final budget came to match the Governor's proposal. Transportation services and Adult Autism both had cuts of however, of $3 million and $6 million, respectively.

Department of Children and Families: Family Support and Stabilization (4800-0040): The Senate increased spending in this line item slightly, by 2.24 percent, whereas the House and Governor kept it consistent with FY '15.

Department of Early Education and Care: Services for Infants and Parents (3000-4050): The Senate funded this line item at $19.4 million, consistent with the increasing action House's budget. This would be a 11.45 percent increase from FY '15 and the Governor's budget.

Department of Transitional Assistance: Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (4408-1000): Though the House had increased this line item from the Governor's initial reccomendation, which cut it 7.6 percent from FY '15, the Senate has matched the Governor's proposal of $78.8 million.

Department of Public Health: HIV/AIDS Prevention Treatment and Services (4512-0103): The Senate proposed an increase to this line item, where the Governor and House both proposed slight cuts. The current proposal has it funded at about 2% above FY '15.

Department of Mental Health: Emergency Services and Mental Health Care (5047-0001): After amendments, the House funded this line item at about $24.3 million, on par with the Governor's proposal and 23 percent less than FY '15. Senate Ways & Means has kept lis line item item steady at $24.3 million.

Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission: Independent Living Assistance for the Multi Disabled (4120-4000): The Senate increased this line item by about 8.37 percent over the Governor's budget. In comparison, the House final budget had this line item at about 65 percent above the Governor's budget.

Amendments for the Senate Ways & Means budget are due no later than Thursday, May 14 at 5 p.m. Discussion on the budget amendments will begin Monday, May 18.

To view the full Senate Way & Means Budget proposal, click here.

Please contact Bill Yelenak if you have any questions or concerns about individual line items or the budget in general.