News First look at Senate Ways & Means budget bill

The Senate Ways & Means (SWM) Committee released a $41.42 billion Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal on May 10 that SWM Chair Karen Spilka said invests in K-12 education, local aid and putting people to work. It is slightly higher than the budget proposed by Gov. Charlie Baker in January, but less than the House budget plan that was finalized in April.

Amendments to the SWM budget can be made through 5 p.m. Monday, May 14, and the Senate is scheduled to begin debate on the bill Tuesday, May 22. Sen. Eric Lesser will be submitting an amendment to create a student loan repayment program for human services workers. You can view the SWM budget here. And you can view the Providers’ Council’s budget tracker here.

Once the Senate’s version is finalized a House and Senate conference committee will work out the differences between their respective budget proposals. Some of the human services line items that will be addressed in conference include:

  • Line item 4200-0200, Residential Services for Detained Populations in the Department of Youth Services is funded at $29.4 million, nearly $1 million more than in the House;
  • Line Item 4401-1000, Employment Services Program, includes language to fund Competitive Integrated Employment Services (CIES) and the young parents program, but does not specify “not less than the amount spent in fiscal year 2018” as the House budget does;
  • Line Item 4512-0200 Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, which saw modest increases in both the Governor’s budget and House budget, gets an even more significant boost in the SWM; the proposed $141.8 million for FY ’19, is $4.6 million more than the HWM and nearly $5.7 more than the Governor’s proposal;
  • Line item 4800-0200 DCF Family Resource Centers is funded at $15,500,000, nearly double the $7.8 million in the House budget;
  • Line item 5042-5000 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services is funded at $92.2 million, nearly $1.6 million more than the House;
  • Line item 5920-3000 Respite Family Supports for the Developmentally Disabled is funded at about $1 million less than in the House budget with an $64 million SWM allocation; and
  • 7004-0101 Emergency Assistance – Family Shelters and Services is funded at $155.9 million, about 4.5 percent more than the House, but less than the projected FY ’18 spending of $170.6 million.

Also notable, the SWM proposal does not include funding for community-based re-entry programs, whereas the House budget would add $3 million in new funding for those services.

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