Senate Passes $261.6 Million FY 2021 Supplemental Budget

BOSTON (06/24/2021) – Today, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts State Senate to pass a $261.6 million supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21). This supplemental budget primarily addresses time-sensitive deficiencies, covers costs related to implementation of the 2020 landmark police reform law, and makes investments to support the Commonwealth’s continued recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This spending bill maintains funding for critical services throughout the Commonwealth,” said Senator Friedman, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “It was particularly important that we made investments in our early education and care system, and that we reformed the representation of the MBTA’s governance and management board to better reflect the population it serves.”

To maintain the Senate’s strong support for early educators who have been on the front lines throughout the pandemic, the supplemental budget invests $131 million of federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funding into the Early Education and Care (EEC) COVID-19 Stabilization and Workforce reserve. This funding will provide early educator stabilization grants, workforce supports, and system-wide technology upgrades. 

In addition to supporting early educators, the Senate’s supplemental budget takes meaningful action to combat the lingering effects of the economic crises the Commonwealth has faced over the last 15 months and ensure families receive the economic supports they need to live, work, and provide stability for their children. To that end, the supplemental budget passed today invests $27.9 million to provide for one-time payments to families that receive Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) benefits, totaling $525 to $580 per child.

Additionally, the supplemental budget provides $12.5 million to cover costs related to the implementation of last session’s landmark police reform bill. These funds will be used to support bridge academies for reserve officers and special state police officers previously not subject to the same training requirements as the general law enforcement population. Funds will also support the first diverse state police cadet class and help meet municipal police training requirements on mandatory training on de-escalation, use of force, and school resource officers.

With the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) Fiscal Management and Control Board set to expire on June 30, 2021, the supplemental budget passed by the Senate today establishes a new seven-member MBTA Board of Directors effective July 1, 2021 and contains a number of changes on the overall governance and oversight of the MBTA. The changes include:

  • Establishing the composition of the MBTA Board of Directors to consist of the Secretary of Transportation, serving ex officio, five members appointed by the Governor, and one member appointed by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Advisory Board;
  • Requiring that one member of the MBTA Board of Directors appointed by the Governor be a rider that uses the services of the Authority and is a resident of an environmental justice population;
  • Requiring that one member of the MBTA Board of Directors appointed by the Governor be selected from a list of three persons recommended by the president of the AFL-CIO; and
  • Requiring subcommittees on safety, health, and environment, planning and workforce development, and audit and finance.

In addition, the Senate voted unanimously to allow the pension of a police officer who dies while performing their duties in certain emergencies to be paid to their surviving spouse. This change, which closes a loophole in current state law, was made to honor the service of Officer Manny Familia, a Worcester police officer who died in June 2021 while heroically attempting to save a 14-year-old boy from drowning. If the Senate’s language is passed, this supplemental budget would ensure that Officer Familia’s family receives the pension he earned.

Other notable highlights of the FY 2021 supplemental budget include:

  • $31.9 million for the Medical Assistance Trust Fund;
  • $13 million for National Guard activations, including pandemic-related work;
  • $11 million for the Department of State Police for pandemic-related costs;
  • $9 million for increased COVID-19 costs at the Department of Public Health;
  • $7.8 million for home health aide rate increases;
  • $5.4 million for the Chelsea and Holyoke Soldiers’ Homes for pandemic-related costs;
  • $5 million for the Police Officer Standards & Training (POST) Commission; and
  • $1 million for the Supplier Diversity Office.

Having been previously passed by the House, the Senate and House will now work to reconcile outstanding differences between the supplemental budgets passed in each chamber before sending the bill to the Governor’s desk.