* * * KNAPIK PRESS RELEASE

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 2, 2013 Contact: Sean Diamond (617) 722-1415

Legislature Sends FY14 Budget to Governor FY13 Supplemental Budget Enacted BOSTON – Senator Michael R. Knapik (R-Westfield) announced today that the Legislature has sent the state’s fiscal year 2014 (FY14) budget to the Governor for his review and approval. The budget calls for $34.06 billion in state spending, with significant investments in local aid, education, housing, and health and human services. The budget passed in the House on a 122-29 vote and the Senate on a 36-3 vote. “This year’s state budget represents a balanced plan that provides the necessary funding levels to support core programs and services across the Commonwealth. I’m especially pleased that local aid, public education, and public safety initiatives were considered top priorities of the Legislature in the FY14 budget,” Senator Knapik said. “The Legislature has prioritized local aid after many years of deep cuts, something our communities desperately need,” Knapik continued. The budget reflects the Legislature’s commitment to cities and towns by boosting Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA), Chapter 70, and the Special Education Circuit Breaker. For the first time since FY10, UGGA funding will increase to $920 million, due largely in part to gaming licensing.

As in years past, the Commonwealth’s commitment to all levels of public education remains a hallmark for the FY14 budget. The budget allocates $4.31 billion for Chapter 70, approximately $131 million more than FY13, $51.5 million for Regional School Transportation, a $6 million increase over FY13, $75 million for Charter School Reimbursements, $3.6 million more than the FY13 appropriation, and $252 million to fully fund the special education circuit breaker, an increase of approximately $11 million from FY13. Housing stability accounts also received significant investments in this year’s budget. The budget allocates $15.5 million in new funding for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), which will provide more than 1,000 new housing vouchers for low-income families. The Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program receives a $2.3 million increase to help more than 3,000 families maintain housing. Additionally, the spending bill allocates $187.2 million to elder home care services, an increase of $6.2 million over FY 13 that will eliminate the 1,500 person waitlist for elder home care services, and increases funding for housing programs by $18.2 million to ensure safe and sustainable housing options. The majority of this increase will allow for more than 1,000 new housing vouchers.

Locally, Community Colleges and State Universities will see a steady increase in this year’s spending plan. Holyoke Community College is funded at $17.5 million, a $1.47 million increase over FY13. Westfield State University is slated to receive $24.8 million, which reflects a $4.69 million increase over last year. Additionally, the University of Massachusetts will receive $478.8 million. This appropriation will allow the 5 UMASS campuses to avoid tuition and fee hikes for the upcoming school year. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Massachusetts will receive $1 million in funding while the YMCA’s are slated to receive $900,000. YouthBuild, which has operations in Holyoke, was funded at $2 million. The budget earmarks $7 million for the Senator Charles E. Shannon Community Safety Initiative, which will enable Chicopee and Holyoke to support initiatives to combat gang violence through coordinated prevention and intervention programs.

The Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke will receive $20.9 million, an increase of $742,879 over FY13. The Soldier’s Home license plate retained revenue account was funded at $400,000, a $110,000 increase over last year, which will enable the Soldier’s Home to use the funds generated by the sale of license plates with the veteran’s designation towards patient care, and personnel and maintenance costs. The 12-bed long-term care account and cable television account both received increases of $26,855 and $15,000 respectively. “The Soldiers’ Home is always one of my top priorities,” Knapik remarked. “I am proud of the Home’s commitment to the Commonwealth’s aging Veterans and am pleased to support their important mission in this year’s budget,” Knapik added. Under this plan, Western Massachusetts Hospital is expected to receive $17.7 million, a $654,376 increase over the FY13 appropriation. Additionally, the hospital received $2.9 million to reopen the 5th medical unit which holds 21 inpatient beds. “As the only public hospital operating in the western region of Massachusetts, Western Mass Hospital serves as a medical safety net for many uninsured and underinsured citizens residing in our area,” Knapik said. “This boost in funding is an important component to the mission of the hospital, to provide quality and affordable care to residents of the Commonwealth,” Knapik added. The Hampden County Sheriff’s office was funded at approximately $69 million while the Hampshire County Sheriff’s office was funded at $12.7 million. The budget also fully funds the Hampden County Sheriff’s transferred inmates account and the Western Massachusetts Regional Women’s Correction Center operations account. $200,000 was included for community development finance institutions. The Common Capital located in Holyoke, which provides loans to small businesses who might otherwise be considered too risky to receive assistance through a conventional loan service, is expected to benefit from this account.

Additionally, the budget includes: • • • • • • • • • $90.6 million for state scholarships for public and private college students $26 million in reimbursements to cities and towns in lieu of taxes on state-owned land $8.4 million for the Hampden District Attorney $5.4 million for the Hampshire/Franklin District Attorney $10.5 million for the Councils on Aging $7.5 million for the Regional Tourist Councils $9.5 million in local aid to Regional Libraries $8 million for Massachusetts Cultural Councils $850,000 for the Economic Development Council of Western Mass

In other session news, the Massachusetts Legislature enacted an FY13 supplemental budget totaling $133.4 million to provide increased revenues for programs that are experiencing funding shortfalls. The bill contains several reform initiatives to combat waste, fraud, and abuse of public assistance benefits including the implementation of a state verification and eligibility task force composed of the State Auditor, Attorney General, Inspector General, Treasurer, Secretary of Administration and finance, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to coordinate efforts with the DTA’s Bureau of Program Integrity. The bill also includes a requirement for photo identification on all newly issued EBT cards. The supplemental budget also allocates funding for last year’s snow and ice removal efforts totaling $56 million, $10 million to support the Youth Summer Jobs program, $8 million for charter school reimbursements, $13.5 million to cover state and local special election costs, and $200,000 for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing to help modify their homes or move into more accessible housing. Two local projects will also receive allocations through the supplemental budget. The Victory Theatre in Holyoke will receive $100,000 for the planned renovations, improvements, and

reopening efforts at the downtown building. The Southwick War Memorial will also receive a $25,000 boost to help support renovations efforts to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Governor has 10 days to review both budgets. During this time, the Governor may approve or veto the entire budget, veto or reduce specific line items, veto outside sections or submit changes as an amendment to the budget for further consideration by the Legislature. The legislature can override such vetoes with a 2/3 vote in each chamber. ###

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