News House Ways & Means proposes $47.65B FY ’22 budget; echoes Gov. Baker’s call for $79m for Chapter 257 Rate Reserve

The House Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday  released a $47.65 billion FY ’22 budget proposal that includes a $79 million Chapter 257 Rate Reserve and other investments in human services programs, including housing assistance, substance use and mental health treatment.

The House budget plan calls for a $1.19 billion spending increase, or 2.6 percent more than the current year’s budget. This is just under $1.8 billion, or 3.9 percent more, than Gov. Charlie Baker recommended in his FY ’22 budget proposal in January.

The House budget also boosts spending for school finance reform and establishes a $40 million fund to help school districts struggling after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The House plan supports Gov. Baker’s request for $79 million in addition Chapter 257 reserves and also notes that funding will be expended for Competitive Integrated Employment Services, the state’s only welfare-to-work program, in the DTA’s Employment Services Programs line item (4401-1000).

The budget, however, does not include an expected $4.5 billion in federal aid coming to the state in June, which legislators will handle with a separate spending bill, according to House Speaker Ronald Mariano. House Ways and Means Chairman Aaron Michlewitz noted the budget builds on the FY ’21 plan which prioritized housing and homelessness prevention, especially for families.

“As we move into the FY22 budget, we plan to continue to prioritize these needs and build on previous investments to support individuals, families, and youth. In tandem with an anticipated $800 million in Federal rental assistance funds, this budget will create hundreds of new vouchers that will be utilized to keep at risk families in their homes,” Michlewitz noted. You can access the House budget here. The full House takes up the budget for debate during the last week of April.

Other items of note in the HWM proposal include:

  • EEC: HWM funds 3000-7050, Family & Community Engagement, at $11.54m, matching the projected spending levels for FY ’21. The Gov. proposed funding it at $14.04m, and the House proposal represents a 17.82 percent decrease from his proposal.
  • MCB: HWM funds 4110-3010, Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind, at $2.83m, matching the amount Gov. Baker proposed in his budget. This is less than the $3.13m projected spending level for FY ’21, representing a 9.45 percent decrease.
  • DTA: HWM funds 4401-1000, Employment Services Program, at $15.5m, a 10.3 percent boost from Gov. Baker’s proposal, but a 6.7 percent drop from FY ’21 projected spending levels.
  • DPH: HWM funds 4512-0200, Bureau of Substance Addiction Services, at $160.1m, nearly 4.7 percent under FY ’21 projected spending levels, but 12 percent more than the Governor’s proposal of $142.8m.
  • DCF: HWM funds 4800-0040, Family Support and Stabilization, at $70.1m, a $3m increase – or 4.5 percent – above FY ’21 projected spending and the Governor’s FY ’22 proposal.
  • DMH: HWM funds 5046-0000, Adult Mental Health and Support Services, at $505.9m, $4.5 million more than FY ’21 projected spending and $1m more than Gov. Baker’s proposal.
  • DDS: HWW funds 5911-2000, Transportation Services, at $27.1m., 34.8 percent higher than Gov. Baker’s budget proposal, which sought $20.1m in funding. Gov. Baker had proposed moving funding from this line item to 5920-5000, which HWM funded at $79.9m, as did Gov. Baker.

To download the Council’s preliminary HWM budget analysis, which compares a selection of HWM line items to their FY ’22 projected spending levels and a comparison to the Governor’s FY ’22 H1 recommendation, you can click here.  If you believe your program or services will be positively or negatively affected by this budget proposal, please contact Bill Yelenak so we can learn more about your line item and track it throughout the budget debate.

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