We share this press release from Senate Ways and Means on passage of H.3829, the FY15 Supplemental Budget. The bill now goes to the Governor.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 28, 2015
Legislature Passes Final FY 2015 Supplemental Budget
BOSTON, MA – Today the Senate and House agreed on a $327.8 million supplemental budget to address Fiscal Year 2015 deficiencies and fund new and ongoing initiatives in substance abuse prevention and treatment and services for children and families. The supplemental budget also directs $120 million to the state’s Stabilization Fund and $113.2 million to pay off state debt.
“By depositing $120 million into the Rainy Day Fund, the Legislature took an important step in ensuring that Massachusetts is preparing for the next recession,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst). “With the relative stability of our current economy, we need to prepare for future uncertainty by building up the Rainy Day Fund. This budget is a balancing act of paying our current obligations, planning for the future and addressing priorities such as funding for substance abuse and DCF.”
“This compromise reflects the Senate’s clear priority of building up the state’s Rainy Day Fund,” said Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “This fund is key for maintaining the Commonwealth’s strong bond rating and making sure we’re prepared for any future economic instability. I’m proud that we came to an agreement that also includes important Senate priorities related to substance abuse, criminal justice reform and children and families.”
“This budget wisely closes the books on the last fiscal year by bringing resources to bear on underfunded obligations such as those in public safety and confronting opiate addiction and, most importantly it, moves us in the right direction by putting surplus funds in the rainy day fund and using them to pay down existing debt,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “Governor Baker began the 2015 fiscal year with a successful effort to close a $1.8 billion funding gap, and now we are continuing to strengthen the state’s financial position with strategic investments and captured savings.”
The supplemental budget ends the fiscal year in balance and ensures a stable fiscal position for fiscal year 2016. The $120 million deposit to the state’s Stabilization Fund, or “Rainy Day Fund,” boosts the balance to approximately $1.25 billion.
Building on the Legislature’s commitment to address the opiate crisis in Massachusetts, the supplemental budget includes a total of $27.8 million for substance abuse treatment and prevention programs. This funding includes $1.2 million for the SBIRT substance abuse screening program in schools and $3.8 million for substance abuse counselors. The bill also includes $5.8 million to support a new program at Taunton State Hospital for civilly committed women who would otherwise receive treatment at MCI-Framingham.
In addition, the bill provides $2.2 million to support training and staffing needs at the Department of Children and Families and $1 million for training for adoptive and foster families.
The bill also includes $250,000 for a grant program for municipal police departments to purchase body cameras and $300,000 for a pilot program to identify and address gaps in the criminal justice system for individuals with mental health and substance abuse disorders.
The bill now goes to the Governor for his signature.