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PRESS RELEASE- Downing Highlights Local Programs Funded in Senate Budget Proposal
May 16, 2007

Boston- Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) today announced that the Senate Committee on Ways and Means has released its Fiscal Year 2008 (FY08) budget recommendations.  This $26.677 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.


“This is a fiscally realistic budget and I am pleased that many crucial items have been addressed,” said Downing.  “I plan on filing several amendments to include additional local programs that are vital to my district. Stay tuned, this is an exciting time on Beacon Hill.” 


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


  • $220 million increase in Chapter 70 Public Education aid from FY07
  • $935,028,283 in Lottery Aid for direct payments to cities and towns  
  • $28.3 million for PILOT Payments for state owned lands, representing a $3 million increase from FY07
  • $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.
  • $150,000 for Berkshire County Youth Development Project to fund youth intervention services
  • $1 million for the Adams Visitor Center
  • $3.5 million for Outreach Enrollment Grants for outreach, education and enrollment initiatives relating to Massachusetts health care reform, which will benefit local organizations including Ecu-Health Care and Community Partners, Inc.
  • $100,000 for United Veterans of America to conduct veteran outreach services in Pittsfield and $220,000 for United Veterans of America services in Leeds
  • $50,000 for Berkshire County Housing Mediation in Pittsfield through the Berkshire Regional Housing Authority
  • $200,000 for the Western Massachusetts Enterprise Fund
  • $42,000 for the Turner House in Williamstown to fund veterans services
  • $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.
  • $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.

The Senate will meet next week to debate its budget recommendations and consider amendments. Interested parties may view the entire Senate budget for FY08 at





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