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PRESS RELEASE- Downing Highlights Local Programs Funded in Senate Budget Proposal
May 14, 2008

Boston- State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) today announced that the Senate Committee on Ways and Means has released its Fiscal Year 2009 (FY09) budget recommendation.  This $28.04 billion proposal builds upon both the House of Representatives and Governor’s recommendations while incorporating additional Senate initiatives to bolster economic development, education, public safety and public health.


Many of Downing’s local priorities have been funded in the Committee’s proposal, including:


  • $223 million increase in Chapter 70 Public Education aid from FY08
  • $935 million in Lottery Aid for direct payments to cities and towns
  • $250,000 for Berkshire Economic Development Corporation
  • $75,000 for Berkshire County Housing Mediation in Pittsfield through the Berkshire Regional Housing Authority
  • $150,000 for Berkshire County Drug Taskforce to combat drug and violent crime activity throughout the county
  • $100,000 for United Veterans of America – Pittsfield to provide services to veterans in Berkshire County as well as $220,000 for United Veterans of America to provide services to homeless veterans at their shelter in Leeds
  • $7 million transfer from the state reserve account to the Cultural Facilities Fund
  • Budget language to increase the COLA base of state and teachers retirement systems and local retirement systems to $16,000- a policy Senator Downing advanced earlier in the session when he served as Chair of Public Service
  • $42,000 for Turner House in Williamstown to fund veterans’ services
  • $150,000 for Berkshire County Youth Development Project to fund youth intervention services
  • $400,000 for Northern Berkshire Community Coalition to administer teen pregnancy prevention programs in Pittsfield and North Adams
  • $75,000 for Samuel Harrison House to help restore and preserve the historical Pittsfield site
  • $20,000 for Berkshire Theatre Festival
  • $50,000 for Mediation and Training Collaborative of Franklin County
  • $1 million to fund a statewide grant program for tourist information centers, such as the Adams Visitor Center
  • $200,000 for Western Massachusetts Enterprise Fund
  • $54,690 for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Berkshire County to fund programs that provide abused and neglected children with a voice in court
  • $77,478 for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Hampshire and Franklin Counties to fund programs that provide abused and neglected children with a voice in court
  • $50,000 for the Senior Farm Share Program
  • $50,000 for Franklin Community Action Corporation
  • $200,000 for North Quabbin Community Coalition
  • $90,000 for Franklin Medical Center’s Beacon Recovery Program at the Orange Recovery House
  • $14,800 for Franklin Regional Council of Governments


The Senate will meet next week to debate its budget recommendations and consider amendments. Interested parties may follow the Senate’s FY09 budget deliberations online at






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