Wrapping up the 2018 Fiscal Year Budget

budget.jpg

With another budget season come and gone, I am happy to share with you the items for our district that were included.

The balanced, $40 billion state budget approved by the legislature includes money for algae removal and park maintenance for King’s Beach and Red Rock Park, respectively, priorities of mine and our communities that I am glad to see included.

In addition, proposals of mine on statewide tax policy, women’s health, and public safety were also included, the first of which is projected to save taxpayers $10 million.

I am especially pleased that we were successful in bringing these proposals forward given the challenging fiscal times in which the budget was created.

The Massachusetts budget includes:

  • $55,000 for maintenance and support for Red Rock Park on Lynn Shore Drive. The Park is a cherished community space that brings people together for everything from July 4th fireworks to family picnics, so funding for the park is an important priority.
  • $50,000 for algae cleanup on King’s Beach. The Pilayella Algae creates a noxious odor for visitors and residents alike, impacting quality of life and enjoyment of the beach. The algae only occur on the Massachusetts coast and in a few small parts of Italy, so combatting it remains an important challenge.
  • $10 million in projected savings for this budget, and every budget from this point forward, from a change to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).This part of the budget mirrors a bill my office filed alongside Rep. Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge) that makes nonresidents of Massachusetts ineligible for the state credit and allows victims of domestic violence to more easily claim the EITC. According to the Department of Revenue, over 20,000 nonresidents claim the state EITC each year. However, due to proximity, people who do not live in the state do not stimulate local economies with their spending in the same way citizens of the Commonwealth do. This resource should be used where it is most effective, and that is on working families in Massachusetts.
  • $75,000 in public safety money towards a pilot grant program that will help “nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of terrorist attack” but are ineligible for a similar federal grant program due to their location. This budget measure was filed along with Senator Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester) and the Jewish Community Relations Council, partly in response to the recent surge in hate crimes in the state and across the country. The grant is for “target hardening and other physical security enhancements” such as cameras and bullet-proof glass. The grant money is open to all nonprofits outside the federal grant area, including Marblehead, Swampscott and Lynn, out to Pittsfield and Provincetown.
  • $150,000 for Self Esteem Boston, a nonprofit group which helps women at difficult points in their lives by providing essential life skills as they transition from addiction, homelessness, domestic violence and other challenging times. Self Esteem provides trainings to other nonprofits and community health centers across the state.