News Senate Ways & Means proposes $42.7B budget

The Senate Ways & Means Committee today released a $42.7 billion FY ’20 budget proposal that includes significant investments in public education and mental health services, including the creation of a mental health trust fund that would, in part, fund a program to forgive student debt for behavioral health care workers (line item 1595-4512).

Largely in line with the Governor’s H1 budget, the plan includes new taxes on e-cigarette/vaping products and on opioid manufacturers. The House, in its HWM bill, did not include revenue raising proposals, making this an issue to be worked out in conference.

The full SWM budget was posted online May 7. You can access it here. Amendments are due by May 10, and the full Senate will debate and finalize its budget bill beginning on May 20.

SWM does not include funding floor language for Competitive Integrated Employment Services (CIES) programs in the Employment Services Program line item (4401-1000). The Council will seek inclusion of language that specifies CIES be funded at “not less than the amount spent in fiscal year 2019” when the budget goes to conference committee. With regard to public education funding, SWM includes $50 million more than the House with a $268 million increase in direct Chapter 70 aid.

This was the first budget from new Senate Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues. Notable allocations include:

DCF: A significant 10 percent boost to Family Resource Centers over both the House and Governor’s proposals, with an allocation of $16.5 million.

DHCD: SWM proposes $104 million for the Mass. Rental Voucher Program (7004-9024) – 4 percent more than Gov. Baker, but less than the House’s $110 million.

DPH: SWM’s proposed $30.8 million for line item 4512-0103 HIV/AIDS prevention treatment and services is nearly 5 percent below the House’s $32.3 million.

The budget plan also allocates $2.5 million for re-entry programs, which is a 50 percent cut from FY ’19 funding. The Chapter 257 Reserve line item (1599-6903) is funded at $20.5 million for FY ’20, consistent with the Governor and HWM.

And SWM allocates $2.75 million for Secretary of State’s census work in FY ’20, but does not include the $2.5 million allocated in the House budget to fund the local Complete Count Committees.

To download our preliminary SWM budget analysis, which compares a selection of SWM line items to their FY ’19 projected spending levels and a comparison to the Governor’s FY ’20 H1 recommendation and final House budget, you can click here.

If there are other line items you would like tracked or have questions about the budget, please email Bill Yelenak at bill@providers.org or call 617.428.3637 x122.

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