Legislature Passes Balanced FY16 Budget

Includes Key Investments for Malden

BOSTON – Representative Steven Ultrino (D – Malden) joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature to enact a $38.145 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16) which emphasizes economic growth, support for residents most in need, and reform of the state’s transportation system. The spending plan makes investments in local aid, education, and human services including an acute focus on behavioral health and substance abuse.

“This was a tough budget year for everyone, but we were able to make some key investments in our future,” said Representative Ultrino. “With the help of the rest of the Malden delegation, including Senator Jason Lewis and Representatives Paul Donato and Paul Brodeur, we secured funding for several important projects and organizations in the city.”

At least $150,000 will be used for an analysis of the structural integrity of the existing storm water tunnels in Malden, Everett, and Revere to make sure they are functioning properly and to capacity. $35,000 was appropriated to develop and maintain a community garden by the commuter rail and MBTA tracks that run through the city.

Malden also received funding for social programs throughout the city. Portal to Hope, a non-profit that helps victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking crimes and serves Everett, Malden, and Medford, received $150,000 in funding. Housing Families, Inc. received $100,000 to provide educational support and programming for homeless children through the GREAT Youth and Families Program. Additionally, Malden received more funding for expanded learning time for students outside of the regular school day.

The budget also addressed many statewide issues that affect Malden and its residents.

Building on a responsible yet proactive approach to bolstering the state’s economy, this year’s budget increases the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) while maintaining a voter-mandated tax reduction and without implementing new taxes or fees. For low-to-moderate households, EITC will increase to 23 percent on January 1, 2016. Increasing this credit is an effective way to fight stagnant wages and lift working families out of poverty.

“This year’s budget features a long-overdue increase of the Earned Income Tax Credit, and I’m thrilled we have taken this substantial step towards addressing income inequality by helping working families in Massachusetts,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst).

The FY16 budget also targets the opioid crisis, strengthening behavioral health efforts enacted in last year’s budget and the landmark substance addiction law through several targeted investments. Many of the programs focus on co-occurring disorders and finding sustainable ways to aid in both prevention and recovery including:

•  $3 million for new clinical stabilization beds to provide for treatment after detoxification;

•  A municipal Naloxone bulk purchasing program to authorize the Department of Public Health to buy and distribute this critical intervention to first responders;

•  A task force to study the feasibility of a prescription drug disposal program;

•  $2.5 million to expand patient access to Vivitrol, a non-narcotic drug that blocks the effect of opiates or alcohol for a period of 30 days;

•  $1.5 million to expand opioid prevention grants;

•  $3.1 million for a new line item for Recovery High Schools, including $1 million to establish two new programs;

•  More than $375 million for Adult Community Mental Health Services, $87 million for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, and an additional $4 million for the Department of Mental Health to annualize and expand community placements to free up beds in the DMH pipeline.

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Alexander Pratt 

July 13, 2015