By Bob Katzen
The Senate 40-0, approved a $49.78 billion fiscal 2023 state budget after adding nearly 500 amendments and $93 million in spending during three days of debate. The House has already approved a different version and a House-Senate conference committee will eventually craft a plan that will be presented to the House and Senate for consideration and sent to the governor.
Provisions include $16.5 million for grants to the Head Start program to maintain access to early education services for low-income families; $1.5 million for the Genocide Education Trust Fund to educate middle and high school students on the history of genocide; $243.8 million for charter school reimbursements; $112.5 million for children’s mental health services; $56 million for domestic violence prevention services; $30.5 million for the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program; and $24.1 million for summer jobs and work-readiness training for at-risk youth.
Supporters said that the budget also codifies new protections for receiving and providing reproductive and gender-affirming health care in Massachusetts, in response to laws in other states allowing their residents to bring legal action against individuals for traveling out-of-state to receive services and against workers who provide care. It also includes $2 million for grants for improvements in reproductive health access, infrastructure and safety.
“The residents of Massachusetts are at the center of our work and their voice, advocacy and contributions are interwoven throughout our fiscal year 2023 budget,” said Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland). “I take great pride in advancing a budget that contains meaningful investments in early education and childcare, K-12 schools, public higher education, mental health and substance use disorder treatment as well as a record level of assistance for low-income residents.”
“Today, the members of the Senate have spoken and moved forward together to pass a fiscal year 2023 budget that strengthens our state’s economic foundation, upholds the fundamental rights of our people and continues our efforts to build a more inclusive commonwealth,” said Senate Ways and Means Committee chair Sen. Mike Rodrigues (D-Westport)
“The budget that passed the Senate today continues our commitment to funding the urgent needs of our residents, including increased funding for housing, education, child care, and assistance for families,” said Sen. Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington), Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. She added that she was also incredibly proud of her amendment which will enhance protections for residents, visitors and providers engaged in lawful reproductive and gender-affirming health care in the commonwealth.”
( A “Yes” vote is for the budget).
Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes