BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) Governor Charlie Baker signed the Economic Development Bill Thursday which allocates $3.76 billion in funding to support the healthcare system in Massachusetts, affordable housing development, and economic development.
“We appreciate the Legislature’s efforts to pass this bill which is necessary to invest the Commonwealth’s significant state surplus and time-sensitive federal relief dollars. While I am disappointed that the bill does not include permanent tax relief that is affordable and was supported by our administration and the Legislature, I am pleased that the Commonwealth’s strong financial position allows us to make these critical investments on behalf of our communities,” said Baker.
The bill uses funds from the FY2022 surplus revenue and funds from the American Rescue Plan Act Fiscal Recovery Fund or ARPA-FRF. Baker vetoed a section of the bill that would cap APPA-FRF spending at $510 million.
“This funding will play a crucial role in the continued growth of local economies, businesses and families and we look forward to seeing it put to work,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.
Highlights of the bill include:
Health and human services
- $850 million in near-term relief for fiscally strained hospitals, human service providers, nursing facilities, rest homes and community health centers
- $200 million to support the Commonwealth’s continued response to and management of COVID-19
- $25 million for low-threshold housing for individuals experiencing homelessness
- $20 million to address the varied needs of immigrants and refugees
- $20 million to combat gun violence
- $20 million for the Victim and Witness Assistance Board
- $17.5 million to support access to reproductive care and family planning services
- $150 million to stabilize early education and care providers
- An additional $315 million transfer to the High-Quality Early Education & Care Affordability Fund via an outside section amending the FY23 budget
- $50 million to support scholarships for Massachusetts students enrolled in higher education nursing programs
Housing production and affordability
- $100 million for workforce housing production
- $100 million for homeownership expansion through the Commonwealth Builder program
- $100 million to support the creation of affordable housing through the Affordable Housing Trust
- $57 million for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
- $50 million for the Equitable Developers’ financing program
- $153 million to support a variety of businesses in need across the state, including $75 million for hotels, $45 million for businesses reaching underserved markets, and $40 million for small businesses
- $75 million to support broadband infrastructure and internet access
- Hundreds of local community and economic development projects
Clean energy and environmental infrastructure
- $175 million for investments in publicly-owned green space and environmental infrastructure, including $75 million in environmental justice communities
- $150 million for clean energy initiatives, including transfers to the Clean Energy Investment Fund, Electric Vehicle Adoption Incentive Trust, and Charging Infrastructure Deployment Fund
- $115 million for water quality improvement projects through the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust
- $100 million for improvements to port infrastructure
- $25 million to support food security infrastructure
- $112 million to support key needs at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), including for implementation of Federal Transit Authority (FTA) directives
Baker vetoed a total of 24 sections in this bill but signed most of the 271 outside sections.