Massachusetts Legislature finalizes FY24 Budget

Representative Kate Hogan (D-Stow) and her colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature enacted a $56.2 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24). This budget provides for historic levels of investment in education, housing, regional transportation, health care, workforce development, and more, as part of a broad strategy to grow our state’s economy and make Massachusetts more affordable, inclusive, and competitive.  

Incorporated into the annual appropriations bill are Rep. Kate Hogan’s budget priorities for residents of the Third Middlesex District, which bring an infusion of state dollars to programs of local impact, including funding for transportation, infrastructure improvements, seniors, food security, furniture banks, and water quality monitoring.  

“This year’s budget plan reflects our need to invest in key areas, including education, healthcare, housing and transportation, while making our economy more competitive and equitable for years to come,” said Rep. Kate Hogan. “It prioritizes people and our local communities, with increased general government aid to municipalities and double the minimum aid contribution per pupil for education.” 

“From critical investments in health care and workforce development, to funding for new initiatives that are designed to increase educational opportunities, better support working families, and provide for a safer and more reliable public transportation system, this FY24 budget will help to make Massachusetts more affordable, while ensuring that the Commonwealth’s most consequential institutions work better for Massachusetts residents,” said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy). “I want to thank Chairman Michlewitz for his indispensable fiscal leadership, as well as the entire House Committee on Ways and Means, each member of the conference committee, and Senate President Spilka and our partners in the Senate for working diligently to put the best possible package together.” 

FY24 budget highlights: 

  • Unrestricted aid $1.27 billion for Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA), an increase of $39.4 million over FY23  
  • Fair Share investments the FY24 budget establishes an Education and Transportation Fund to account for $1 billion in revenues generated from the Fair Share ballot initiative voters approved in November 2022 and invests these new public dollars to improve the public education and the state’s transportation systems. Highlights include: 
  • $171.5 million for universal school meals; the budget also includes two studies to examine school meal waste avoidance and nutrition standards under the program 
  • $100 million for the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) and an increased limit on grant usage to combat school construction project costs impacted by post-COVID inflationary pressures 
  • $50 million to support free community college initiatives 
  • $25 million to spur degree completion for in-demand professions 
  • $50 million for Green School Works and clean energy infrastructure at public schools 
  • $181 million for MBTA capital projects 
  • $100 million in supplemental aid for roads and bridges 
  • $90 million for regional transit funding, more than doubling the total funding for RTAs to $184 million  
  • $20 million for ongoing safety concerns at the MBTA 
  • Education – The FY24 budget meets the Legislature’s commitment to the Student Opportunity Act (SOA), investing $6.59 billion in Chapter 70 funding, an increase of $604 million over FY 2023, as well as doubling minimum Chapter 70 aid from $30 to $60 per pupil.  

The FY24 budget includes $1.5 billion for early education and care – the largest-ever annual appropriation for early education and care in Massachusetts history 

To further increase the pipeline of qualified nurses, the FY24 budget also directs the Board of Registration in Nursing to develop an alternative approval process to allow nursing faculty to teach the clinical or skills lab component of a nursing course with a baccalaureate degree and any additional experience required by the Board.   

The Legislature also included funding for in-state tuition rates at the Commonwealth’s public colleges and universities for all Massachusetts high school graduates, regardless of immigration status. 

  • Housing The FY24 budget makes a historic $1.05 billion investment in housing, dedicating resources to programs that support housing stability, residential assistance, and assistance to those experiencing homelessness. 

The budget prioritizes relief for families and individuals who continue to face challenges brought on by the pandemic and financial insecurity, including $324 million for Emergency Assistance family shelters and $190 million for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), which provides rental assistance up to $7,000 per household.  

It also includes $180 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), creating more than 750 new vouchers and allowing the program to move to a payment standard with a benefit of 110 per cent of the federal small-area fair market rental price, significantly broadening housing options for those served by the program. 

The FY24 budget makes permanent a pandemic-era eviction protection for renters with pending applications for emergency rental assistance  

  • Healthcare Investments in the FY24 budget help to improve and expand continued access to programs and services for millions of our residents, while further protecting the rights of residents to make their own health care choices, including: 

$19.81 billion for MassHealth, representing the largest investment made in the state budget, $2.9 billion for services and focused supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, $597.7 million for Department of Mental Health (DMH) adult support services, 213.3 million for a complete range of substance use disorder treatment and intervention services,  $119.8 million for children’s mental health services and $42.9 million for Early Intervention (EI) services, ensuring supports remain accessible and available to infants and young toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities 

$1 million for the University of Massachusetts’ acquisition of abortion medication, such as mifepristone, as national access to abortion medication is currently a pending issue in the courts. 

The FY24 budget codifies into law the federal Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) provisions that protect access to preventive services, such as certain cancer screenings and HIV preventive medications, such as PrEP, that have been jeopardized by a recent federal court ruling in Texas. 

  • Environment The FY24 budget allocates $85.4 million to the Department of Enviromental Protection for air and water quality monitoring and to respond to developments in the PFAS challenge. The Clean Water Trust was appropriated $63.3 million to address community need and water infrastructure projects and to support efforts to protect the quality of drinking water and safeguard public health. This budget also prioritizes Climate Adaptation and Preparedness and increases funds for Climate Adaptation and Preparedness to $10 million.  

 

  • Agriculture Food security remains a serious situation in the Commonwealth. Many remote communities are isolated and located in food deserts. This budget sets aside $25.1 million for the Food Security Infrastructure Grant program, which aims to ensure that communities receive access to affordable, local foods, and appropriates $36.4 million for the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program to support food banks. 

 

  • Rainy day fund Remaining vigilant about the current fiscal environment, the FY24 budget adheres to sound fiscal discipline and builds up available reserves for the state’s stabilization fund. The fund has grown to a record high of $7.16 billion and is projected to close FY24 at $9.5 billion, ensuring the Commonwealth will continue to have healthy reserves to maintain fiscal responsibility during a time of ongoing economic volatility. 

   

Rep. Hogan’s budget amendments for the Third Middlesex District include: 

  • $150,000 for firefighting cisterns in Stow 
  • $100,000 for an egress at the Florence Sawyer/Emerson School complex in Bolton 
  • $50,000 for CatchConnect service in Hudson 
  • $50,000 for wayfinding improvements in Hudson 
  • $50,000 for First & Last Mile transportation in Maynard 
  • $35,000 for the Maynard Senior Center study 
  • $75,000 for Fresh Start Furniture Bank  
  • $50,000 for the MetroWest Food System Collaborative 
  • $30,000 for OARS, Inc. for water quality monitoring  

Additional budget amendments impacting the Third Middlesex District include: 

  • A 10 percent increase for Transitional Assistance to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) to $444.7 million and $204.4 million for Emergency Aid to Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC) to continue efforts to lift families out of ‘deep poverty’ 
  • $60 million for adult basic education services to improve access to skills necessary to join the workforce. 
  • $20 million for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund to connect unemployed and under-employed workers with higher paying jobs.  
  • $5.9 million for the Innovation Pathways program to continue to connect students to training and post-secondary opportunities in STEM fields.  
  • $1 million for the development, expansion and operation of freestanding birth centers and support for community-based maternal health services. 
  • Additionally, as the MassHealth redetermination process that started in April 2023 continues, the FY24 budget creates a two-year ConnectorCare expansion pilot program to expand eligibility to 500 per cent of the Federal Poverty Limit (FPL), which is about $73,000 a year for an individual. This will result in 47,000 to 70,000 residents becoming newly eligible for more affordable coverage, while helping to ease the transition off MassHealth by providing more affordable options for people who would otherwise not be eligible for subsidized coverage. 
  • Authorization for pharmacists to dispense birth control without a doctor’s prescription, making contraception much more available 
  • Free and unlimited calls for incarcerated people in Massachusetts T

 

Recent News

Tax Filing Tips for Seniors

Following is information from the Office of Rep. Hogan about programs and policies that may save our seniors and their families some money during the 2023 tax filing process, including...

In the News: GBH reports on 21st Century Agriculture Commission

GBH News Reporter Sarah Betancourt reported on the sixth hearing held by the Legislature’s 21st Century Agriculture Commission, which focused on the impact that climate change and natural disasters have...

Rep. Hogan honored with Legislator of the Year award from MassNAELA

State Representative Kate Hogan was honored to be recognized with a ‘Legislator of the Year’ award from the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (MassNAELA) for...