BOSTON (WWLP/SHNS) – Governor Maura Healey and Lieutenant Governor Driscoll signed into law most of a policy-filled $56 billion state budget for fiscal year 2024 on Wednesday.

The spending plan makes permanent a pandemic-era program providing free school meals to all students, clears the way for high school graduates without legal immigration status to access in-state tuition and financial aid at public colleges and universities, offers assistance to help Bay Staters ages 25 and older attend community college for free, and more.

It also sets aside $580 million to cover the anticipated impact of a tax relief package, which remains mired in Democrat-led negotiations more than a year after lawmakers first began debating the idea.

Healey gave her approval to 103 of 112 outside policy sections, returned eight with amendments, and vetoed one authorizing the use of $205 million in one-time funding. She also reduced the budget’s bottom line by the same amount.

Massachusetts Budget Highlights 

Fair Share 

  • $524 million for education 
    • $71 million for early education and care will increase childcare slots for income-eligible families and put the Commonwealth on a path to universal Pre-K 
    • $224 million for K-12 education will guarantee access to free lunch for students across the Commonwealth, expand pathways for high school students to earn college degrees and fund clean energy infrastructure in schools 
    • $229 million for higher education that will help make community college and a four-year degree more accessible through the MassReconnect program and financial aid expansions 
  • $477 million for transportation will: 
    • Preserve critical highway bridge infrastructure 
    • Improve accessibility at MBTA stations 
    • Initiate means-tested MBTA fares 
    • Create a path for innovative service pilots and increased rural connectivity for regional transit authorities 

Education and Local Aid 

  • Fully funding of the Student Opportunity Act, including a $594 million, or 9.9 percent increase, in Chapter 70 funding 
  • $475 million for Commonwealth Cares for Children grants to early-education providers 
  • $10 million for a career pathways program for early educators 
  • Extends in-state tuition rates at the state’s public universities to immigrants without documentation 
  • $172 million in permanent funding to provide universal school lunch for public school K-12 students 
  • A 3.2 percent increase to Unrestricted General Government Aid 
  • Major increases of $21.3 million for school transportation reimbursement and $9.5 million for rural school aid 
  • Full funding of Special Education Circuit Breaker 
  • Increases payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) for state-owned land by $6.5 million or 14 percent 

Housing and Homelessness 

  • Supports the creation of the new Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities 
  • Creates 750 new Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) vouchers for low-income tenants 
  • Creates 150 new Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP) vouchers for individuals with disabilities, including, for the first time, 50 project-based vouchers 
  • Reauthorizes the Brownfields Tax Credit recommended in our tax relief package 
  • $324 million for the Emergency Assistance Family Shelter (EA) program, representing a 48 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2023  
  • $37 million for HomeBASE to connect EA-eligible families with more permanent housing opportunities 
  • Addressing and preventing homelessness by making Chapter 257 eviction protections permanent for renters with pending EA applications 

Economic Development 

  • $8 million for targeted initiatives at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative to support workforce, manufacturing, cybersecurity, and the innovation economy  
  • $5 million for Small Business Technical Assistance Grants to leverage the expertise of nonprofits to offer technical assistance, education, and access to capital for small businesses ​ 
  • $600,000 for the Massachusetts Downtown Initiative for municipalities looking to revitalize their downtowns​ 

Health and Human Services 

  • $173 million for Chapter 257 rate increases for human service providers 
  • $192 million from the Behavioral Health Trust Fund for one time programming aimed at recruiting and supporting a diverse behavioral workforce, including a ​$100 million enhancement to the Loan Repayment Program for mental and behavioral health professionals  
  • An increase of $44.6 million for behavioral health initiatives at the Department of Mental Health to expand inpatient and community capacity 
  • Adds $6.1 million for immigrant and refugee services, including $1.8 million for health assessments and $1.5 million for employment programs 
  • $2.75 million for Technology Forward to provide assistive technology and remote supports/monitoring 
  • Supports a pilot to expand subsidized ConnectorCare coverage to individuals at or below 500 percent of the federal poverty limit 
  • Expands access to contraceptives by allowing pharmacists to prescribe and dispense hormonal contraceptives to individuals without previous prescriptions 

Workforce Development 

  • $16.2 million for Summer Jobs Program for At-Risk Youth (Youthworks) to subsidize wages and facilitate career development of at-risk youth  
  • $15.4 million for Career Technical Institutes 
  • $3.8 million for the Registered Apprenticeship Program to fund approximately 1,000 placements  

Serving Our Veterans 

  • Funds the new Veterans’ Services at $185.6 million, a $11.4 million, or 7 percent, increase from FY23 GAA​ 
  • Prepares for the opening of new Soldiers’ Homes facilities:​ 
    • Chelsea’s long-term care transition from the Quigley Building to Community Living Center will begin March 2023​ 
    • Holyoke is set to replace its long-term care facility by 2027 and is in the design phase of the project with DCAMM 
  • Invests in payroll and overtime costs for nursing staff at the Homes 


  • $100 million for a new Municipal Partnership grant program for a road construction reserve 
  • $28 million for implementation of the Work and Family Mobility Act, including extended RMV service hours 
  • $200 million for MBTA capital investments including station accessibility and improvements and design for the Red-Blue connector. 
  • $20 million for the MBTA Workforce Safety Reserve, which can be used to support employee recruitment and retention 
  • $5 million for implementation of means-tested fares 
  • $15 million for fare-free pilot programs at Regional Transit Authorities 

Energy and the Environment 

  • Funds the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs at $557.9 million, 1 percent of total available funding for FY24 GAA 
    • This represents a $119.5 million, or 27 percent, increase over FY23, including new environmental justice staff and funding to establish a Federal and Regional Strategic Planning Office to coordinate market reform, transmission, and hydropower 
  • $25 million to permanently support Food Security Infrastructure Grants  
  • $30 million for the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to support wind technology, clean homes, and workforce training programs in the clean energy industry 
  • $4.8 million for a decarbonization clearinghouse for energy efficiency, electrification, and storage 
  • $5 million to address deferred maintenance at the Department of Conservation and Recreation parks and facilities 

Criminal Justice and Public Safety 

  • Funding for re-entry pathways including green career training programs 
  • Supports new and enhanced training requirements through the POST Commission and Municipal Police Training Committee 
  • $2 million to establish a Safe Neighborhood Initiative, a collaborative effort with law enforcement and community leaders to develop comprehensive solutions to reduce crime and protect communities 

Technology and Cybersecurity 

  • $9.2 million in additional cybersecurity investments
  • $2.6 million in software licenses for Web security, network endpoint protection, and threat detection 
  • Supports continued consolidation of IT services for executive branch departments 

“Our administration is proud to deliver our first budget that meets the moment by making Massachusetts more affordable, competitive and equitable. This budget makes significant investments in schools, child care, clean energy, the environment, and access to mental and physical health care,” said Governor Healey. “We are grateful to Speaker Mariano, Senate President Spilka, Chair Michlewitz, Chair Rodrigues and the entire Legislature for their hard work on this budget that reflects our shared values. We look forward to finishing the job by delivering a tax relief package that will put money back into the pockets of families, renters, seniors and more.” 

“This FY24 budget shows that Massachusetts can address critical needs like housing, college affordability and hunger while also remaining fiscally responsible,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Matthew J. Gorzkowicz. “This spending plan is both affordable and necessary to meet the array of needs confronting our families, businesses and municipalities, and I am thankful to my partners in the Legislature for their collaboration to get this done.” 

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