Senate Passes FY19 Budget

My FY19 Budget Priorities Deliver Tax Relief for Small Business Owners, Revenue to Fund Critical Public Safety Initiatives, Housing Programs, and Efforts to Stem the Opioid Epidemic.

(Boston, Mass.) – My budget amendments addressing the opioid epidemic, offering tax relief to small and seasonal business owners, funding municipal police and firefighter training, child advocacy programs and other public safety programs were successfully adopted this week by the State Senate and included in its FY2019 budget, which was passed after three full days of debate at approximately 1:00 AM on May 25th.

I successfully secured $640,000 in local funding for Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, and $8.6 million in funding for statewide programs.

Budgets are about values. I have spent the last year-and-a-half listening to my constituents in our very large and economically diverse district to see how to best advocate for them in the budget. These amendments reflect the importance of sustaining the fight against opioids; ensuring our police and firefighters receive the best training possible; offering tax relief and training for small and seasonal businesses; protecting our environment and protecting the most vulnerable in our community. I am proud of the successes we’ve had, and at the same time I know that there is much more to do. 

I successfully proposed the following amendments, all of which were adopted during the State Senate’s budget debate:

The Opioid Crisis and Public Safety

Amendment #258 - Anti-Addiction Programs in Schools: Funds $50,000 for Calmer Choice, an innovative Cape-based non-profit, to offer substance abuse prevention programs in school districts on Cape Cod.

Amendment #518 - Dukes County Substance Abuse Program: Funds $25,000 in the bureau of substance addiction services line item for the Dukes County substance misuse and detox program, which is run by Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (MVCS). Currently, there is no medically assisted treatment program on the island.

Amendment #544 - Shelter for the Chronically Homeless & ‘Plymouth County Outreach’ Study: Funds the following for the Barnstable Police Department & Barnstable County Department of Human Services:

  • $45,000 for an emergency shelter program for the town of Barnstable Police Department’s ‘Community Impact Unit’ (in partnership with NAMI of Cape Cod and Vinfen of Cape Cod) which would prioritize sheltering homeless individuals during weather related emergencies;
  • $20,000 for the Barnstable County Department of Human Services to fund a study of the feasibility of replicating the highly successful “Plymouth County Outreach” program in Barnstable County. This model provides follow-up after an overdose by means of a collaboration of public safety, health, and human services agencies.

Amendment #546 - Narcan Bulk Purchase for Cape Cod: Funds $20,000 for the Barnstable County Department of Human Services to fund a bulk purchase of naloxone/narcan, for distribution to public safety agencies and non-profits on Cape Cod.

Amendment #573 - Children's Advocacy Centers: Requires level funding for all Children's Advocacy Centers that were funded in FY18. This includes: Children's Cove of Barnstable County for $140,000. And in addition, Children's Advocacy Center of Worcester County; Children's Advocacy Center of Bristol County; Plymouth County Children's Advocacy Center; and Children's Advocacy Center of Suffolk County, Inc.

Amendment #1091 - Barnstable County Fire and Rescue Training Academy: Funds $100,000 for the Barnstable County Fire and Rescue Training Academy. It is the only training academy available to firefighters on the Cape Cod and is essential to providing continuing education for fire departments, as well as training new firemen.

Amendment #1114 - Municipal Police Training Fund: This amendment creates a reliable and dedicated funding source for municipal police training across the Commonwealth, similar to that of municipal firefighters, by imposing a nominal $2 surcharge on all rented vehicles and depositing it into a dedicated fund. The Senate also previously passed this amendment offered by me during its debate on the FY2018 supplemental budget on April 26, 2018.  The fee is estimated to generate $7 million for municipal police training annually.

Amendment #1116 - Sheriff Funding Commission: Amends outside section 47 to include in the Sheriff Funding Commission's study a review of the physical assets owned by each sheriff’s department and an analysis of funding deficiencies and lack of programmatic offering by the Commonwealth to geographically isolated sheriff’s departments, most notably – Dukes and Nantucket counties.

Housing

Amendment #766 - Housing Assistance: Funds $65,000 for Housing Assistance Corporation of Cape Cod. HAC provides emergency shelter, homelessness prevention assistance, and employment services to individuals and families to enable family self-sufficiency.

Amendment #791 - Tenancy Preservation Program (TPP): This amendment would increase funding to $1.3M to serve new areas covered by the Housing Court. TPP prevents very vulnerable tenants with disabilities from becoming homeless and operates through the Housing Court. I fought to expand the Housing Court to Barnstable County during last year’s budget debate.

Small Business

Amendment #589 - Employer Medical Assistance Contribution Hardship Exemption: Amendment would require the Department of Unemployment Assistance to establish, for certain Massachusetts employers, including seasonal employers, small businesses, and employers providing services that serve the public interest, an exemption hardship waiver for the Employer Medical Assistance Contribution (EMAC) health contribution assessment established in the FY18 budget.

Amendment #790 - Promoting Employee Ownership: Funds $50,000 for the Massachusetts Office of Employee Involvement and Ownership (MASSEIO). MASSEIO operations were suspended in 2008 due to the fiscal crisis confronting our nation and state government, and the functions of the office are in the process of being re-started via funding I secured in last year’s budget.  This funding would allow MASSEIO to resume providing education, outreach and promotional efforts to create an environment in the Commonwealth which will expand and enhance employee involvement and ownership.

Amendment #796 - Small Business Technical Assistance: Increases funding by $250,000 for a total annual appropriation of $1.50M to support technical assistance and training programs to Massachusetts businesses with 20 or fewer employees. These grants strengthen locally-owned businesses while stimulating local economic development, supporting commercial & mixed-use development, and helping to sustain vibrant local business districts.  The Community Development Partnership (based in Eastham) and Coastal Community Capital (based in Barnstable) receive resources from this program.

Amendment #805 - Tourism Promotion and Marketing: Adds language that would require that funds from the Tourism Trust Fund be released no later than September 1st of the Fiscal Year.  This is a priority of the Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket Chambers of Commerce.

Health and Education

Amendment #522 - Access to Health and Human Services on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket: Funds $50,000 for the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) to continue providing services and off-island travel reimbursement funding for residents of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Amendment #575 - Youth at Risk: Provides funding for Youth at Risk competitive grant programs, with $500,000 specifically for evidence-based programs, including programs that serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth.

Environment

Amendment #527 - Local Food Access and Affordability: Funds $35,000 to Truro-based non-profit Sustainable Cape to expand local food access & affordability.  Sustainable Cape would expand a coalition of farmers markets throughout Barnstable and Dukes counties to promote SNAP, WIC, Senior and Veteran benefits at Farmers Markets as well as the creation of site-specific programs targeted to schools, libraries and community centers.

Amendment #938 - Beach Conservation: Funds $70,000 for the implementation of the statewide habitat conservation plan to increase shorebird conservation and recreational opportunities.

Amendment #941 - Nantucket Coastal Study: Funds $20,000 for the Division of Marine Fisheries to study the impacts of the trawl fishery targeting longfin squid in waters under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth with particular focus on the state and federal sea sampling data collection programs concerning catch and by-catch.

Amendment #374 - Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station Decommissioning (filed jointly with Senator deMacedo):  Funds $100,000 for an interagency working group to monitor the pre and post shutdown decommissioning process at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station.  The working group leads and coordinates state agency involvement in any matters pertaining to the plant’s decommissioning including: radiological and environmental standards, emergency preparedness and funding, and site restoration.

Now that the Senate Budget is completed, it will go to conference committee with the House Budget which was passed in late April.

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