House and Senate Votes Reaffirm Commitment to Education, Local Assistance

BOSTON – Representative Garrett Bradley and Senator Bob Hedlund joined their colleagues in the Legislature to take final action on the FY16 budget.

A series of gubernatorial veto override votes taken on July 29th and July 30th will enhance support for Massachusetts residents and municipalities, and ensure that local programs, education funding and economic development initiatives are well funded by the Legislature. Among the items restored in the overrides were school safety monies for the towns of Hingham, Hull and Cohasset.

"I thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for agreeing to include these much needed monies in the FY 2016 budget,” said Representative Garrett Bradley. “They strike the right balance between maintaining fiscal responsibility and protecting the funding for the programs and services that our constituents need.  These overrides will restore necessary funding for substance abuse prevention, education, school safety monies for Hingham, Hull and Cohasset and countless other priorities of communities across the Commonwealth."

Senator Bob Hedlund said, "This funding will go a long way to address important school safety needs. I am thankful that my colleagues re-affirmed their support for this form of additional local assistance."

Through the FY16 budget, the Legislature advanced its standing as the national leader in education for students of all ages. Recognizing the importance of providing statewide access to full-day kindergarten the Legislature overrode a cut to kindergarten expansion grants, reaffirming its support for funding in the amount of $18.6 million.

The Legislature also took action to emphasize its ongoing dedication to higher education, restoring cuts to the University of Massachusetts, state universities and community colleges. This week’s overrides include the restoration of $5.25 million for UMass. As the university continues to distinguish itself as a pillar of excellence in public education and an economic driver for the Commonwealth, the Legislature remains committed to supporting its growth.

Understanding the vital role that community colleges and state universities have in educating individuals of diverse backgrounds, buoying workforce development efforts and improving local economies, the Legislature overrode more than $2.6M in cuts made to these institutions. The Legislature’s budget as sent to the Governor also included a strong focus on early education and care (EEC). That commitment was reaffirmed through the restoration of $3.4 million in vetoes that support EEC programs and services.

Recognizing that education and economic development are intrinsically paired, the budget enhances the Legislature’s focus on bolstering job opportunities for residents of all skillsets in diverse regions of the Commonwealth. Following action on the Administration’s vetoes, the below programs are now funded at:

 

  • Talent Pipeline: $1.5 million to encourage young innovators to get a head start on their futures by matching stipends for interns at innovation start-ups, and to provide mentoring opportunities for new entrepreneurs.

 

  • MassCAN: $1.7 million to establish widespread, progressive computer science curriculum in public school through a public-private match program.

 

  • STEM Starter Academy: $4.75 million to promote STEM careers at the Commonwealth’s community colleges.

 

  • Mass Tech Collaborative: $750K for the Mass Tech Collaborative Tech and Innovation Entrepreneurship program to establish entrepreneur and startup mentoring.

 

Travel and tourism, one of the state’s largest industries, provides an opportunity for communities to bolster their economies in a way which is unique and appropriate for each region. The Legislature restored $5.17 million in cuts to the Office of Travel and Tourism and $2.37 million to the Massachusetts Cultural Council.     

Additional priorities include:

 

  • $500,000 for a prostate cancer awareness and education program.

 

  • More than $2.2 million for substance abuse treatment programs across the Commonwealth.

 

  • Restoration of funding for unaccompanied homeless youth housing services;

 

  • $3 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program for a total of $82.9M to support 900 to 1050 new vouchers for families at risk of homelessness.

 

  • $2 million for the Early Education and Care Waitlist for a total of $12M to take 2,000 children off the waitlist for these critical services.
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