May 26, 2023
Cyr Secures Local and Statewide Wins in Fiscal Year 2024 Budget
Senate budget brings funds to Cape & Islands and bolsters the behavioral health workforce, elder nutrition programs, LGBTQ+ resources, and employee ownership
(BOSTON) — Following three days of debate, the Massachusetts Senate passed a $56 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24). Senator Julian Cyr (D—Truro) secured $2.85 million for statewide initiatives and an additional $850,000 for local Cape and Islands priorities.
Cyr amendments increase funding for the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office, further critical mental and behavioral health supports, provide an additional $1 million to the statewide elder nutrition program Meals on Wheels, enhance local public health emergency protections, bolster workers and employee-owned business models, and more.
“The Senate advanced crucial investments that will aid people across the Commonwealth, and I am thrilled to have secured state resources that will directly support vulnerable Cape Codders and Islanders, not to mention those that address statewide needs,” said Senator Julian Cyr. “In our budget, the Senate continued our nation-leading efforts to retain and recruit our behavioral health workforce. In the face of extremist anti-LGBTQ+ policies in other U.S. states, the Massachusetts Senate once again affirmed our commitment to supporting vulnerable LGBTQ+ youth. I am encouraged and affirmed by the thoughtful, people-centered final budget.”
Advocating for Local Priorities
Senator Cyr secured funding for Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket including;
· $125,000 to purchase and install ice machines and cooling equipment in Wellfleet Harbor to support commercial fishing and aquaculture.
· $100,000 to support on Cape fire training for the region’s fire departments
· $65,000 for an island-wide engineering study on the presence of PFAS in the Martha’s Vineyard aquifer.
· $63,000 to the Cape Cod and Islands Veterans Outreach Center to continue their outreach and nutrition assistance programs
· $75,000 for kitchen renovations at Latham Centers, a developmental disability provider in Brewster
· $22,00 to support the Cape Cod SHINE program, helping seniors sign up for Medicare
· $70,000 to Calmer Choice’s fund mindfulness programming in Cape Cod public schools
· $50,000 for farmers’ markets and school-based local agriculture programs offered by Sustainable CAPE
· $30,000 for facility upgrades to the Provincetown Film Society’s theater
· Guaranteed reimbursement for off-island medical transport on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket
Criminal Justice Reform
Cyr brought fair and equitable state support to the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office. The Office has long been underfunded and has faced disparities in funding with comparable districts in the Commonwealth. The additional $350,000 allocated in the Senate budget will enable the District Attorney’s Office to pursue innovative criminal justice efforts, protect public safety, and reduce recidivism. The funding will also allow the Office to establish a Mental Health Court and a Veterans Court and conduct annual performance reports.
“Strong support from Senator Cyr and the entire Cape and Islands delegation creates opportunities for my office to move forward with crucial reforms and improvements to our criminal justice system, and better fulfill our social justice goals,” said Cape and Islands District Attorney Robert Galibois. “The Senate budget recognizes that resources committed now, long overdue, will pay great dividends for our community. I very much appreciate that visionary leadership.”
“The Cape and Islands District Attorney is the most underfunded district attorney in the Commonwealth,” said Senator Cyr. “While a comparable office in the western part of the state receives over $3 million more in funding and employs nearly 30 more employees, the Cape and Islands District Attorney faces limitations in providing critical programming. This funding is a game changer for our region and will bring forth a more robust district attorney’s office with the ability to offer the innovative resources needed to serve the community justly.”
Ensuring Access to Elder Nutrition Services Statewide
The Senate passed Cyr’s amendment to increase funding by $1 million for statewide elder nutrition, including the Meals on Wheels program. For many individuals, their daily delivered meal is their only social interaction. The program provides critical nutrition for seniors as well as wellness checks, nutritional screenings, education, and counseling. A survey by Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands found that 81 percent of their consumers report the lunch provided by Meals on Wheels was their “main meal of the day”. With the rising cost of food, Cyr’s amendment ensures vulnerable seniors continue to have access to this service.
Investing in LGBTQ+ Support
As an out elected official, Cyr has long been a leader in championing LGBTQ+ initiatives on Beacon Hill. In the face of growing anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and policies across the country, Cyr secured several amendments to address the needs of LGBTQ+ individuals in the Commonwealth. Cyr supported LGBTQ+ owned businesses by securing $250,000 for the LGBT Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber will use the funds to assist LGBTQ+ owned businesses to qualify for supplier diversity program contracts available through the Commonwealth.
Additional Cyr amendments support LGBTQ+ youth experiencing housing insecurity and other economic challenges. Cyr secured $150,000 for the Boston Alliance of LGBTQ Youth (BAGLY) to provide innovative job training and wraparound supports to LGBTQ+ youth who are experiencing housing insecurity. Cyr also secured $50,000 for the Transgender Emergency Fund to provide critical, lifesaving assistance for vulnerable trans people living in the Commonwealth.
Bolstering Worker Ownership
In 2018, Cyr led the revitalization of the Massachusetts Office of Employee Involvement and Ownership, now called the Massachusetts Center for Employee Ownership (MassCEO). Cyr solidified $150,000 for MassCEO in the FY24 budget to promote and support employee-owned business models in the Commonwealth. Data from the National Center for Employee Ownership demonstrates that employee-owned companies create jobs three times faster than their traditional counterparts. Employee and worker ownership empowers middle-class workers to grow their wealth and access business ownership, which fosters a more robust, inclusive, equitable, and just economy.
Senate Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Proposal
The overall Senate FY24 budget proposal totals $56 billion including $1 billion in revenues generated from the Fair Share ballot initiative. The proposal strengthens the state’s Stabilization Fund to ensure fiscal responsibility, sets aside $575 million to pay for a progressive tax relief package, takes the first steps toward implementing the Senate’s Student Opportunity Plan, funds MassHealth at nearly $20 billion, and makes a historic $1 billion investment in housing.
The Senate and the House of Representatives will now reconcile both branches’ budget proposal differences in a conference committee.