The General Court of Massachusetts
State House, Boston, 02133-1053
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contacts: Laura Oggeri Seth Gitell
July 1, 2013 Senate President House Speaker
(617) 722-1500 (617) 722-2500
House, Senate Pass Fiscal Year 2013 Supplemental Budget
Adds $133.4 million to FY13 spending and strengthens EBT enforcement
(BOSTON) –The Massachusetts Legislature today enacted a $133.4 million supplemental state budget, providing funding for vital state programs and implementing reforms to the electronic benefit transfer (EBT) system administered by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA).
“I congratulate the conferees for their work on this important bill which allows us to continue critical state initiatives like the Summer Jobs program and provide funds for snow and ice removal,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “I’m also very pleased that we were able to take immediate action to combat welfare fraud with measures like adding photos to EBT cards and creating the Bureau of Program Integrity. These actions affirm our commitment to stopping fraud while supporting citizens who are most in need. Lastly, I am especially proud of the inclusion of home modification funds for victims of the Boston Marathon and thank those who advocated for this provision.”
“The supplemental budget provides much-needed funds to critical services and programs across the Commonwealth,” said Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth). “Our towns and cities will feel the positive effects of these funds at the local level, such as through the distribution of Community Health Center grants and charter school reimbursements. This budget also authorizes funding for operations costs for local sheriffs as well as provides Welcome Home bonuses for our veterans returning from their service abroad. These are important programs and services that contribute to the economic health of our communities as well as the personal well-being of our residents.”
“This supplemental budget ensures funding for programs in Fiscal Year 2013 that provide integral support to the residents of the Commonwealth. It prioritizes meaningful assistance to victims of the Boston Marathon bombings who have lost limbs by creating a home modification grant program and supports critical services like the Hotel/Motel Emergency Shelter program for homeless families and the Summer Jobs program. It also includes funding to meet our obligations for the Snow and Ice program.” said House Ways and Means Chairman Brian S. Dempsey (D-Haverhill). “Through this supplemental budget, the Legislature continues to makes strides in addressing the issue of fraud and abuse in the EBT system. We implement a state eligibility and verification Task Force, whose members include the State Auditor and the Attorney General, and require photo IDs on EBT cards to establish oversight and root out anyone abusing public benefits.”
“The supplemental budget passed today addresses a number of funding issues that are critical to the operation of this Commonwealth and that are a priority to its residents,” said Senate Ways and Means Chairman Stephen M. Brewer (D-Barre). “The bill passed today provides critical support for public safety, at-risk youth, and homeless families; and includes funding that will aid our municipal partners. It also offers assistance to victims of the Boston Marathon bombing who have lost limbs by funding a program that will award them grants to cover home modification or moving costs and funds essential payments for snow and ice removal following the difficult winter.”
The legislation contains the following provisions:
- Requires a photo on EBT cards for each eligible household member over the age of 18 to deter fraud. Elderly and disabled residents are exempt from this requirement;
- Establishes a state verification and eligibility Task Force made up of the State Auditor, Attorney General, Inspector General, Treasurer, Secretary of Health and Human Services and Secretary of Administration and Finance to coordinate efforts with the DTA’s Bureau of Program Integrity.
- Authorizes $56 million to fund payments for the Snow and Ice program;
- Provides $10 million to support the Youth Summer Jobs program, providing employment opportunities for the Commonwealth’s at-risk youth;
- Creates a $200,000 fund for victims of the Boston Marathon to help modify their homes or move into more accessible housing;
- Provides $1 million for Community Health Center grants;
- Authorizes funding for operations costs for the Commonwealth’s sheriffs;
- Allocates $8 million in funding for charter school reimbursements;
- Provides $13.5 million to cover state and local special elections costs;
- Authorizes $1.2 million to support the Hotel/Motel program for homeless;
- Provides $50,000 to study the feasibility of a regional lock-up facility in Worcester County.