Boston – State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) announces that yesterday the Massachusetts Senate voted 37-0 to pass a $200.8 million supplemental budget to cover time sensitive deficiencies and unexpected cost increases in Fiscal Year 2014.
Several of Downing’s priority programs and issues are addressed in the Senate’s supplemental budget, including:
· $15 million to recapitalize the Brownsfield Redevelopment Fund;
· $1.7 million for the Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP); and
· Clarification of the statute for fines levied against owners of elevators. This new language requires the Department of Public Safety to inform municipalities, nonprofits and religious organizations of their responsibilities at least 30 days prior to the expiration of an elevator certificate and caps the maximum fine for noncompliance at $10,000.
The supplemental budget also includes a $45.3 million investment to cover shelter contracts for emergency assistance and to pay for the cost of keeping families in motels. This is a critical investment to ensure housing and homelessness prevention resources are available for children and families across the Commonwealth.
This supplemental budget also includes $30 million to cover a portion of over-budget snow and ice costs that the Commonwealth will incur over the course of this winter. This bill also enables MassDOT to pay future snow and ice bills in anticipation of supplemental funding, allowing payments to plow drivers to get out the door faster.
The bill also includes $28.6 million to cover ongoing deficiencies for eleven county sheriffs, and $8 million to cover indigent court costs.
Additional provisions in the supplemental budget include:
· $17.4 million to fund the costs associated with new collective bargaining agreements;
· $16 million to cover the premium costs associated with three communities joining the GIC, which will then be reimbursed by the municipalities;
· $10.7 million to annualize the FY 2013 human service salary reserve in FY 2014;
· $7.9 million to support the Department of Youth Services’ implementation of the Raise the Age legislation;
· $4.8 million to fund the Safe and Successful Youth Program; and,
· $2.8 million to support increased capacity at the Department of Children and Families.
The Senate also adopted amendments related to required net school spending for public school districts, and Youth At-Risk Summer Jobs.
Earlier in the week the House of Representatives passed a similar spending bill. The two branches will now work out the differences between the two, in order to forward a final supplemental budget to the Governor for his approval.