FY17 Key Wins:
• Reentry Demonstration Workforce Development: My amendment in the FY17 Budget created a specific program to provide job training, professional development, and supportive services to individuals transitioning out of incarceration and into the labor force. Around 40% of ex-prisoners recidivate during the first 3 years after their release, with negative—often preventable—consequences for our communities, taxpayers at large, and new victims. We must plan for the long term stability of individuals who have been incarcerated so they can earn a living for themselves and their families, and integrate back into society on the right track.
• Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program: The FY17 Budget includes a $505,000 increase over FY16 for the Commonwealth’s investment in food security and food pantries. This program enables the four major food banks in Massachusetts to purchase more healthy food for their network of 800 emergency hunger-relief agencies.
• School-to-Career Connecting Activities: The FY17 Budget includes a $373,750 increase over FY16 for the Commonwealth’s investment in school-to-career connecting activities. Programs supported by this line item help youth navigate the often difficult transition between being a student and being a professional, and have also proven highly effective at creating new jobs, not otherwise available to adults, through partnerships with private employers.
• School-to-STEM Careers Innovation Initiative: My amendment designated $250,000 to support innovation technology career pathways for vocational technical high school students, like our talented Cardinals at Madison Park. By connecting our vocational high school students with high-wage STEM careers, Massachusetts positions itself to be an innovation economy leader—attracting and retaining tech enterprise with the best tech talent in the nation, while ensuring our youth are ready to contribute to and benefit from the jobs being created.
• MA Commission Against Discrimination: The FY17 Budget includes a $150,000 increase over FY16 for the MCAD, the state's chief civil rights agency that oversees complaints regarding discrimination on a variety of bases, including race, creed, gender, religious background, and sexual orientation. The MCAD helps resolve discrimination cases outside of the more expensive judicial system.
• Elder Protective Services: The FY17 Budget includes a near $5 million increase over FY16 to prevent and intervene in potential cases of elder abuse.
FY16 Key Wins:
• A 50% increase over FY15 of the state Earned Income Tax Credit, which greatly benefits families in our community who struggle to get by.
• A $500,000 investment for a new line item to provide planning grants for communities already offering early education to 4- and 5-year olds, to develop plans to expand their preschool offerings to 3-year-olds as well.
• A $2 million increase over FY15 for the YouthWorks summer jobs program;
• A $60 million increase over FY15 in “Chapter 70” state aid to K-12 education;
• A $15 million increase in the “Special Education Circuit Breaker,” which achieves full funding of this commitment to school districts across the state and is especially important to funding the Boston Public Schools;
• An increase of $1 million over FY15 funding for METCO, which continues the work of racial desegregation in schools and provides an important education option to families in Boston and beyond;
• An increase of $200,000 over FY15 for the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth to fund anti-bullying initiatives in our schools.
• Bi-partisan reform of MBTA governance, creating an MBTA control board to ensure accountability and a direct line of authority from the Governor to the MBTA.
• Assistance to Homeless Veterans: more than $100,000 increase over last year.