Budget season for Fiscal Year 2019 is officially underway. Governor Charlie Baker unveiled a $40.905 billion spending proposal for FY ’19 on Jan. 24, including modest increases or level-funding for most human services line items.
As he did in his State of the Commonwealth address on Jan. 23, Gov. Baker used his budget message to highlight increased spending for the Department of Mental Health and substance misuse and treatment programs. In all the Governor’s House 2 (H2) budget proposes $93.2 million in new funding for DMH, including $84 million for community-based services for adults.
In a call with stakeholders Wednesday afternoon, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders noted the increases for DMH as well as the Department of Developmental Services, notably for Turning 22 services. Sec. Sudders also said that with the FY ’19 budget the state will be in full compliance with Chapter 257.
In a follow-up phone call with the Council, EOHHS clarified that the total amount of new Chapter 257 funding proposed in the FY ’19 budget is a combined $119 million, including $38.5 million in the Chapter 257 Reserve (line item 1599-6903), $62.3 million for Adult Community Clinical Services (ACCS), which replaces Community-Based Flexible Supports (CBFS); and $18.2 million in annualized rates.
Other items noted by Secretary Sudders include:
- A $20 million increase in funding for the Department of Children and Families to continue improvements and increase staffing;
- An overall $13.6 million increase in funding for the Department of Transitional Assistance; including a proposed $14.2 million for the Employment Services Program line item (4401-1000) that includes Competitive Integrated Employment Services (CIES) funding;
- H2 also includes steps to alleviate the cliff effect for TAFDC recipients, doubling the asset limit; disregarding income at 100 percent for the first six months of work and 50 percent for the second six months; and making grant awards equivalent for working and non-working recipients; and
- The decline in the budget for the Department of Youth Services reflects a decline in caseloads, Sec. Sudders said.
Members were also pleased with the Governor’s proposal to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit to 30 percent.
Council members with questions about the budget may email Bill Yelenak.