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PRESS RELEASE- Downing Highlights Local Funding in FY 2009 State Budget
July 03, 2008

Boston- Today, State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) announces that the Massachusetts Senate has voted to endorse the Fiscal Year 2009 conference report, bringing to a close the legislative negotiations on the Commonwealth’s FY 2009 General Appropriations Act.


“The FY09 budget speaks to the dedication and commitment of the entire western Massachusetts legislative delegation,” said Downing. “My colleagues and I worked hard to secure support  for many important local items in this spending plan.  I look forward to seeing the immediate and long term benefits of these programs and services as they are realized throughout our region.”


The FY 09 budget funds programs and services impacting Downing’s Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin Senate District, including:


  • $200,000 for Barrington Stage Company, located in the City of Pittsfield
  • $100,000 for the costs associated with the use of the Joseph Scelsi Intermodal Center by Berkshire Community College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts to bring public higher education courses to a downtown Pittsfield location
  • Authorization for the Berkshire Sheriff’s Department to retain and employ an additional $50,000 in revenues collected by the Department, for a total of $250,000 to support regional communication initiatives
  • $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
  • $6.5 million for the Cultural Facilities Fund, to fund grants to increase investments from both the public sector and the private sector to support the sound planning and development of cultural facilities statewide
  • 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
  • $250,000 for Berkshire Museum
  • $200,000 for the Mahaiwe Theatre in Great Barrington for restoration improvements
  • 200,000 for Tanglewood- Boston Symphony Orchestra for upgrades to the Tappan Manor House
  • $200,000 for Buy Local programs to enhance buy local efforts in western, central, northeastern, and southeastern Massachusetts, which supports local programs such as Berkshire Grown
  • $1 million to fund a statewide grant program for tourist information centers, such as the Adams Visitor Center
  • $75,000 for  Public Safety Grant for the City of Pittsfield
  • $200,000 for Western Massachusetts Enterprise Fund
  • $125,000  for Hancock Shaker Village
  • $50,000 for Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
  • $250,000 for Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council
  • $200,000 for Bay State Games
  • $30,000 for Reading Recovery in Dalton and Bernardston for Early Intervention Tutorial Literacy
  • $350,000 for MCLA’s Wireless Learning Initiative
  • $21,351,035 for Community Policing Grants to assist with deployment of officers statewide, including language maintaining grants that have historically been received by the police departments.  Locally, the Towns of Charlemont, Dalton, Lanesborough, and Williamstown and the Cities of Pittsfield and North Adams will continue to receive Community Policing funds
  • $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
  • $150,000 for Boys and Girls Club of Pittsfield and Gladys Allen Brigham Center for community-based family unification counseling program to prevent juvenile delinquency;
  • $50,000 for Westhampton Library to assist with the building of a new facility
  • $50,000 for Franklin Community Action Corporation
  • $200,000 for North Quabbin Community Coalition
  • $150,000 for North Adams Armory
  • $14,800 for Franklin Regional Council of Governments


The FY 09 budget has been forwarded to Governor Patrick’s desk for final approval.  Patrick has 10 days to act on the bill.  Fiscal Year 2009 began on July 1, 2008. 


To view the complete text of the FY09 Budget Conference Report please visit:






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