Gov. Maura Healey filed a $734 million supplemental funds proposal that invests in public well being, free faculty meals, clear power and know-how, and recruitment efforts to boost the MBTA’s strapped workforce.
The invoice, filed Friday, builds upon the $55.5 billion fiscal 12 months 2024 state funds proposal the governor submitted on March 1.
“In our supplemental budget, Lt. Gov. (Kim) Driscoll and I are proposing additional investments that will move us forward on our goals of increasing affordability, competitiveness and equity in Massachusetts,” Healey stated in a press release.
The supplemental funds would direct $171 million to increase state-funded common free faculty meals by way of the 2023-24 faculty 12 months.
It additionally directs the Executive Office of Education to report, by Jan. 15, 2024, on methods to switch or lengthen this program “in a way that promotes equity, maximizes federal revenue and improves predictability and sustainability of funding into the future,” Healey wrote in a letter to the Legislature.
“The universal school meals program has proven to be a success in expanding access to nutritious meals for all students, and it’s essential that we keep it running and evaluate our options for the future,” Healey stated.
While the invoice doesn’t present funds to rent 1,000 new MBTA workers, as promised by the governor in her inaugural deal with, it does allocate $20 million to allow the T to “better recruit and retain employees to meet its needs and deliver safe, reliable service across the system,” Healey stated.
“We also know that workforce challenges are fueling the serious service issues at the MBTA, which is why we are proposing dedicated funding for hiring and retention,” Healey stated. “This includes money that could be used for incentives such as hiring and retention bonuses, increased pay for bus operators, and a robust marketing campaign.”
Healey stated a $35 million funding would triple the working funds of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, conserving the state on “the cutting edge of clean technology and decarbonization,” and permitting for brand spanking new partnerships with public greater training establishments and trades to develop the clear power trade.
The funding would authorize the Clean Energy Center to determine the Salem Offshore Wind Terminal and permit the Salem Port Authority to accumulate port land wanted for the venture, Healey stated.
“This funding will play a key role in supporting our efforts to tackle the climate crisis and make Massachusetts a global leader in the clean energy economy,” she stated.
The invoice would additionally direct $200 million towards a “critical health and human services and workforce reserve” to cowl projected deficiencies in fiscal 12 months 2023 and bills in early FY24 for the “continuation of COVID-19 response and mitigation efforts.”
This contains “temporary staffing relied upon to respond to health crises in our nursing homes, group care settings, state hospitals and soldiers’ homes,” Healey stated.
While Healey formally declared an finish to the state’s COVID-19 public well being emergency, efficient May 11, her administration plans to suggest a brand new regulation that will lengthen three emergency orders past that date.
“The legislation would permanently extend staffing flexibilities for advanced life support ambulances, temporarily extend staffing flexibilities for freestanding dialysis providers, and temporarily extend flexibilities for the administration of prescription medications to clients of state agencies who reside in community settings,” Healey stated.