The Commonwealth is one step closer to having a FY2019 budget in place. Budget negotiations took a bit longer than usual this year, but the resulting $41.88 billion includes a number of MAPC budget and policy priorities. We are extremely grateful to Chairwoman Spilka and Chairman Sanchez for their incredibly hard work on this budget.
On July 18, the conference committee deliberating the FY2019 budget proposal released their report, the Legislature adopted that report, and the bill was sent to the Governor for his consideration. As with all bills, the Governor will now have 10 days to review the budget, which should give the legislature time to consider any veto overrides in the final days of session.
The conference report includes level or increased funding to six of MAPC’s key priorities:
- The Shannon Grant Program received an increase of $2 million over FY2018 spending, bringing the total to $8 million for the nationally-recognized program dedicated to combatting youth violence, gang violence, and substance abuse through regional, multi-disciplinary efforts.
- District Local Technical Assistance (DLTA) was level funded at $2.8 million. These funds are appropriated to all 13 of the state’s Regional Planning Agencies to as act as “technical assistance centers” for municipalities on a wide variety of land use permitting and planning functions.
- Regional Transit Authorities (RTA) received an increase of $8 million over FY2018 spending, bringing the total to $88 million for the 15 RTAs across the state. $6 million of these funds would be distributed based on memorandums of understanding and performance agreements between RTAs and the Department of Transportation.
- Community Compact Program was level funded at $2 million, which will go to help communities implement best practices in a variety of areas.
- Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program received an increase of over $7 million, bringing the total funding to $100 million. MRVP helps to move homeless families and individuals out of motels, off of housing waiting lists, and into decent homes they can afford.
- Department of Environmental Protection received an increase of $4 million over FY2018 spending in their administration line, now a total of $29.1 million. This funding is used to ensure clean air and water, support watershed planning and permitting, safely manage toxics, enforce environmental laws, reduce solid waste, clean up hazardous waste sites and spills in a timely manner, and preserve wetlands and coastal resources.
MAPC is grateful to all of the budget conferees: Chairman Jeffrey Sánchez, Chairwoman Karen Spilka, Rep. Stephen Kulik, Rep. Todd Smola, Sen. Joan Lovely, and Sen. Vinny deMacedo. Thanks also to House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Harriette Chandler and to all the members of the Legislature for supporting these important programs.