In The People's Blog

The Healey-Driscoll Administration released its $55.5 billion Fiscal Year 2024 budget proposal on March 1. Below we’ve unpacked just some of the funding highlights. Learn more about the budget proposal here, or read through “budget explainers” created by the Administration, each focused on a key area in the budget.

Here are the budget explainers for the topics we did not expand upon below, which include investing in our workforce, MassHealth, veterans, public safety, cybersecurity and federal funds and infrastructure development.  You can find all 19 explainers here

Climate, Environment and Clean Energy Highlights: 
Budget explainer for climate action here.

  • Allocates 1% of the overall budget to the environment as called for by advocates
  • Establishes an Office of Environmental Justice: 
    • $70 million in new funding for environmental justice initiatives 
  • $21 million for job training across clean energy sectors, focused on historically underserved populations and in partnership with state universities and community colleges 
  • $7 million for building decarbonization efforts
  • $1.6 million to increase landfill and water facility sampling for PFAS and to develop PFAS air standards

Fair Share Revenue Allocation Highlights: 
Budget explainer for Fair Share revenue here

  • $510 million in Fair Share revenue from the millionaires tax passed last fall for early education and care, K-12 education, and higher education, including:
    • $100 million for childcare grants directed towards providers 
    • $93 million for MASSGrant Plus, a program that provides need-based financial assistance to undergraduate students residing in Massachusetts pursuing a degree at a four-year public college or university
    • $30 million for the Commonwealth Preschool Partnerships Initiative (CPPI), with the goal of achieving universal Pre-K for all
  •  $490 million for transportation, including:
    • $100 million for state-municipal partnerships to develop and implement critical local transportation projects 
    • $164 million for MassDOT Highway projects 
    • $40 million for MassDOT Rail and Transit projects, including $25 million for regional transit funding and grants 

Education Highlights: 
Budget explainer for higher education here.

  • $140 million more to help address the growing backlog of deferred maintenance across higher education institutions 
  • $59 million for a Tuition and Fee Stabilization Program 
    • This program “locks” the price of tuition for in-state, undergraduate students attending public higher education institutions so that what they pay as a first-year students will be their price for the next four years
  • $30 million for a new student support services initiative that includes internship incentives, workforce development, and health services 
  • $20 million for MassReconnect 
    • This program makes community college free for students over 25 without college degrees
  • $18 million for additional diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at UMass, state universities and community colleges
  • $4.4 million for campus mental health

Food Security Highlights: 
Budget explainer for food security here. 

  • $25 million for the Food Security Infrastructure Grant (FSIG) program 
  • $31.7 million for the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program 
    • Part of this funding will go towards supporting the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts 
  • $130 million pending currently in a supplemental budget to supplement SNAP benefits for Massachusetts families as the federal COVID-19 supplemental benefit ends
  • $65 million also pending currently in a supplemental budget to ensure universal access to school meals through the end of the school year

Rural Investment Highlights: 
Budget explainer for local aid to cities and towns here

  • $7.5 million for rural school aid 
    • This is a 36% increase over last year 
  • $6.5 billion for Chapter 70 payments 
  • $97.1 million for regional school transportation 
    • This represents an 18% increase compared to last year
  • $51.5 million for Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) to compensate communities for stewarding state-owned land 
    • This represents a 14% increase over last year

Tax Relief: 
Budget explainer for the tax package here

  • Child & Family Credit: 
    • Establishes a $600 credit per qualifying dependent, including children, adults with disabilities, and seniors, uncapped regardless of number of dependents, fully refundable, and available at all income levels
  • Estate Tax: 
    • Reduces estate taxes for all and eliminates tax on estates under $3 million
  • Senior Circuit Breaker: 
    • Doubles the maximum allowed credit. 
  • Renter Deduction: 
    • Increases the cap on the rent deduction to $4,000; deduction is currently 50% of rent, capped at $3,000
  • Short-term capital gains: 
    • Reduces tax rate on short-term capital gains to 5% from 12%

Child Care: 
Budget explainer for child care here

  • $1.5 billion invested into supporting child care around Massachusetts in total
  • Bolsters the Commonwealth Cares for Children (C3) stabilization program: 
    • $225 million from the General Fund, $100 million from Fair Share revenues, and $150 million from the one-time High-Quality Early Education & Care Affordability Fund are directed towards the C3 grant program 
  • $100 million for provider rate increases for center-based and family child care providers
  • $25 million to provide subsidies for an estimated 2,200 additional children from the Department of Early Education and Care’s (EEC) income-eligible waitlist
  • $5 million for a strategic planning and investments reserve

Budget explainer for transportation here.  

  • $19 million for new grant opportunities for transit providers, including Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) 
    • At least 25% of funds would go towards providers serving rural communities 
  • $9 million increase to RTA base funding
  • $12.5 million for components of a future West-East Rail 

Budget explainer for housing here

  • Creates 750 new Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) mobile and project-based vouchers with increased flexibility for voucher holders 
  • $324 million for the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities to maintain 4,755 units of Emergency Assistance Family Shelter
  • $110.8 million for Homeless Individual Shelters
  • $7.6 million for Sponsor-Based Permanent Supportive Housing
  • $5 million for the Homeless Individuals Rapid Rehousing Program
  • $4 million for the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program to reintroduce assistance for homeowners who have received a foreclosure notice
  • $2 million to maintain a pilot program that provides rental assistance to those who were previously incarcerated

Budget explainer for health care here
Budget explainer for behavioral health here
Budget explainer for reproductive health here

  • Invests in behavioral health including: 
    • $23 million in additional funding to increase the Department of Mental Health (DMH) state-operated inpatient bed counts by 10%
    • $8.3 million in additional funding for youth intensive residential treatment programs
    • $4.4 million for crisis services, therapy, assessment of learning disorders, responses to sexual assault, and other services funded through behavioral services grants 
    • $1 million to implement universal mental health screening at 30 schools
  • $20.1 million for Family and Adolescent Reproductive Health
    • Serves over 100,000 Commonwealth residents, including youth in and out of school, people of all genders seeking sexual and reproductive health services
  • $2 million in funding for Reproductive Health Access Infrastructure and Security
    • Supports clinical providers of abortions as well as established nonprofit organizations’ abortion access funds, which provide direct funding to those who are seeking an abortion but may not be able to afford it
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