Legislature Passes Budget, Driscoll Secures Earmarks for Milton, Randolph, & Blue Hills Reservation
Fiscal Year 2021 Budget – Conference Committee Report
BOSTON, DEC. 4, 2020 – A compromise regarding the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) budget was reached on Friday between the Massachusetts House and Senate. State Representative Bill Driscoll Jr. (D – Milton) is pleased to note that Milton, Randolph, and the Blue Hills Reservation secured notable earmarks, including:
$250,000 for the Blue Hills Trailside Museum
$40,000 for United Way’s Resilient Randolph Fund
$25,000 for a study and survey of the white-tailed deer population in the Blue Hills Reservation
$50,000 for the Blue Hills Observatory
$25,000 for Turner’s Pond in Milton
These earmarks were secured as a result of a collaborative, legislative team effort between Representatives Bill Driscoll, Jr., Bruce Ayers, Dan Cullinane, Mark Cusack, Bill Galvin, and State Senator Walter Timilty.
The final version of the budget invests in programs and services across the Commonwealth. Funded at $46.2 billion, the budget aims to address the sweeping effects of the global pandemic by making targeted investments in housing, food security, and substance use addiction services, as well as domestic violence, sexual assault treatment and prevention programs. The budget also invests in programs that provide COVID-related supports for students and increases funding for developmental services, early education and childcare, and public health.
The Legislature continues to further its commitment to cities and towns by investing $1.1 billion in Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA). Continuing the Legislature’s support of targeted investments in education, this budget provides $5.283 billion in Chapter 70 education funding, an increase of $107.6 million over Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20). Recognizing the unique challenges arising from the pandemic, the budget also includes a new line item for one-time grants that can be used for onsite learning, remote learning, PPE, and any other expenses necessary to ensure that low-income and vulnerable students receive the supports they need.
The budget further continues to dedicate substantial resources toward supporting public higher education and increases scholarship funding for students. These investments include $286 million for state universities; $307.7 million for community colleges; $560 million for the University of Massachusetts system; and $120 million in scholarship funding.
The budget also represents the Legislature’s ongoing commitment to housing and homelessness funding. Due to the pandemic, access to safe and affordable housing for many families across the Commonwealth has taken on new urgency. This year, the budget makes targeted investments into rental and housing assistance to support families, tenants, and property owners during this time of crisis, including $50 million for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT).
While there is always more to do, these steps ensure protections for our most vulnerable during these challenging times. Having been passed by the House and Senate, the legislation now goes to Governor Baker for his signature.