Bill provides relief to financially strained hospitals, extends simulcasting to 2025, provides aid for farmers impacted by natural disasters
(BOSTON — 8/1/2023) The Massachusetts Legislature yesterday passed a $200 million supplemental budget, which included $180 million in critical relief for financially strained hospitals in the state, an extension of simulcasting and live horse racing until December 15, 2025, and $20 million in funding for farms that have been devastated by natural disasters, including flooding and unseasonal deep freezes.
“Quick action on this supplemental budget means we will deliver much-needed support to our hospitals and farms—two sectors that not only account for a lot of jobs in our Commonwealth, but which supply critical services and goods to our residents to keep our state healthy,” stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “The flexible funding for farm communities will allow our farmers to continue to recover from the lasting effects of severe weather on their crops, land and livelihoods, and patients will continue to receive care at their community hospitals. I am deeply grateful to Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues, Vice Chair Cindy Friedman, Assistant Vice Chair Jo Comerford, Senate Ways and Means staff, Speaker Mariano, and our colleagues in the House for prioritizing this funding—and to Governor Healey for signing this into law as soon as it crossed her desk.”
“From urgently needed funding for struggling hospitals, to support for Massachusetts farms that have been impacted by natural disasters, to an extension of simulcasting through 2025, this supplemental budget includes a number of critical, timely provisions that support vital industries in order to preserve jobs and strengthen our economy” said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy). “I want to thank Chairman Michlewitz and my colleagues in the House, as well as Senate President Spilka and our partners in the Senate, for working to pass this vital legislation.”
“In partnership with the House, the Senate has acted decisively to continue to take the necessary steps to keep the economy of the Commonwealth on a firm footing by approving this FY ’23 supplemental budget. The passage of this $200 million supplemental budget makes key investments in health care, legalized gaming, and flood disaster relief. We steered $180 million to bolster fiscally strained hospitals, granted an extension for racing and simulcasting to December 15, 2025, and allocated $20 million to aid farmers devasted by the recent floods in western Massachusetts. Those investments, along with the passage of the Fiscal Year 2024 budget, will keep Massachusetts as a leader in the key emerging economic sectors for decades to come,” said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “Thanks to the strong leadership of Senate President Spilka, and the commitment of my colleagues in the Senate, we are in solid economic strength as we can now address a tax relief package in the near future.”
“This supplemental budget will offer critical relief towards several areas across the state that need immediate help. The $200 million contained in this legislation will help offer much needed assistance to some of the most distressed hospitals across the Commonwealth as well as to our farmers who have been devastated in the past few weeks by flooding and other natural disasters,” said Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Chair of the House Committee on Ways & Means (D-Boston). “I want to thank Speaker Mariano, my colleagues in the House, as well as my counterparts in the Senate for their attention and timelines in seeing this vital funding move quickly through the Legislative process.”
“This Fiscal Year 2023 supplemental budget passed by the Legislature invests funds to address some of the key pain points that we are seeing throughout the Commonwealth, especially hospital fiscal solvency,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “We also cover important needs that have arisen in recent months as we work to close out the FY23 books with a supplemental budget that is extremely targeted to provide relief quickly.”
“I am tremendously grateful that the Legislature is coming to the aid of farmers,” said Senator Jo Comerford (D-Northampton), Assistant Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “The $20 million in the fiscal year ‘23 supplemental budget will support farmers who have experienced massive hardships, from extreme flooding earlier this month to the frosts and freezes earlier this year. Thank you to Senate President Karen Spilka and Chair Michael Rodrigues for their unwavering commitment to farms and farmers, both in the short and long term. This unprecedented funding will be out the door in record time thanks to their quick work.”
The bill was sent to the Governor after passage, and signed into law on the morning of August 1.