As the buds were blooming in the trees here on Beacon Hill, I joined a bipartisan coalition of my colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to pass our Fiscal Year 2020 budget.
15th Middlesex Budget Priorities
The House budget significantly increases investments in public education, housing, substance use disorder services, health care and more. Excitingly, it also includes funding for two projects I initiated:
Also included in the budget is funding for two projects proposed by my Woburn colleague, Representative Rich Haggerty, which I cosponsored and actively supported. These include a transportation van for the Woburn Council on Aging and design work for a pedestrian bridge to cross over the rail tracks at Anderson.
Like many throughout our community, Patriots Day is my favorite day of the year in Lexington! History is important to us in the 15th Middlesex District, and each year the holiday reminds us of the vital role Massachusetts played in helping to found and mold this great nation. And we also have some fun while celebrating!
Committees & Caucuses
As a legislator, I make my voice heard in part through the committees and caucuses I join. While committee assignments are made by House leadership, caucuses are formed by and open to all representatives in the House.
My Caucuses (so far!)
Michelle's Many Moments
FY20 House Budget (expanded)
As you know, a budget is a statement of values, and the budget I joined my colleagues in supporting last week is a solid piece of work that makes progress toward addressing our key priorities. Constrained by available revenue, the budget tends to be an incremental tool that takes measured steps towards our shared vision for the future of the Commonwealth.
Access to quality public education is a top priority for both me and my constituents throughout Woburn and Lexington, and while there is much work still to be done, I was pleased to see the House of Representatives take a modest first step to increase funding in this area. The budget provides $5.1 billion in Chapter 70 education funding as part of a $236 million increase for investments in schools over FY19. In addition, the budget includes $23.6 million for METCO and a $16.5 million reserve for low-income students. It also addresses the need for integrated student health and wellness supports, providing $2 million to establish the Supporting Health Alliances Reinforcing Education (SHARE) grant program to address non-academic barriers to school success.
In addition to increased investments in public education, the House budget includes funding for two projects I championed:
Also included in the budget is funding for two projects proposed by my Woburn colleague, Representative Rich Haggerty, which I cosponsored and actively supported. These include design work for a pedestrian bridge to cross over the rail tracks at Anderson and a transportation van for the Woburn Council on Aging.
In the environmental arena, the House budget calls for over $282 million to keep up with the needs of Massachusetts’ parks and environmental protections programs, including:
Additionally, for the first time in nearly 20 years, the budget will be increasing the Commonwealth’s contribution into the Community Preservation Act, which will ensure that over $36 million more will be distributed to projects all across the Commonwealth, helping to raise the state’s match up to 30 percent for investments in open space, affordable housing, and historic preservation.
The budget will now go to the Senate for consideration.
A key part of my work as a legislator is advocacy. On Beacon Hill, many caucuses form to advocate for a range and variety of issues. As such, I have had the opportunity to join several organizations related to my identity as well as my priorities. Some of the groups I am a member of are listed below.