Senate Budget adds funds for local towns, children

Submitted by State Senator Mike Barrett

Mike-Barrett-logoThe Massachusetts State Senate has passed its version of the annual state budget.  With a prompt by local Senator Mike Barrett, the Senate version contains several items of interest to Bedford.

Bedford’s education funding from the state goes from $3,907,693 to $4,145,009, a 6% increase compared to the previous fiscal year.  Bedford’s local aid funding, which communities use to fund a variety of government services, receives a boost from $993,887 to $1,021,449, a 2.8% jump.  Overall, the budget provides the town this upcoming fiscal year with an additional $264,878.

The original Senate budget proposal, before amendments, adds funding for new technology for social workers at the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.  Recent tragedies at DCF have highlighted the need for better oversight of cases.  Handheld devices will allow field workers to document visits much sooner, letting supervisors know if home visits have actually been made, said Barrett, a health care IT specialist by profession.  A pilot program involving the new technology has gotten high marks.

During a marathon debate in the Senate chamber, Barrett also added a successful amendment for an additional $2.2 million to increase staff at the department.  “The new money will help reduce caseloads of front-line social workers, who have the job of protecting vulnerable kids,” said Barrett, Senate Chair of the Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities.  But he added that “we’re not where we need to be yet.”  Barrett favors additional appropriations.

Other major floor actions included:

$34M to support hospitals around the state
$16M in enhanced rates for nursing homes serving MassHealth clients
$2.4M in funding increases for the Massachusetts Cultural Council
A measure expanding the state’s bottle deposit law to cover beverage containers such as water bottles and sports drinks
A statewide grant program aimed at preventing teen dating violence

The budget will now go to a conference committee for reconciliation with the version passed by the House in April.
Senate adds funds for local towns, children

The Massachusetts State Senate has passed its version of the annual state budget.  With a prompt by local Senator Mike Barrett, the Senate version contains several items of interest to Bedford.

Bedford’s education funding from the state goes from $3,907,693 to $4,145,009, a 6% increase compared to the previous fiscal year.  Bedford’s local aid funding, which communities use to fund a variety of government services, receives a boost from $993,887 to $1,021,449, a 2.8% jump.  Overall, the budget provides the town this upcoming fiscal year with an additional $264,878.

The original Senate budget proposal, before amendments, adds funding for new technology for social workers at the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.  Recent tragedies at DCF have highlighted the need for better oversight of cases.  Handheld devices will allow field workers to document visits much sooner, letting supervisors know if home visits have actually been made, said Barrett, a health care IT specialist by profession.  A pilot program involving the new technology has gotten high marks.

During a marathon debate in the Senate chamber, Barrett also added a successful amendment for an additional $2.2 million to increase staff at the department.  “The new money will help reduce caseloads of front-line social workers, who have the job of protecting vulnerable kids,” said Barrett, Senate Chair of the Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities.  But he added that “we’re not where we need to be yet.”  Barrett favors additional appropriations.

Other major floor actions included:

  • $34M to support hospitals around the state
  • $16M in enhanced rates for nursing homes serving MassHealth clients
  • $2.4M in funding increases for the Massachusetts Cultural Council
  • A measure expanding the state’s bottle deposit law to cover beverage containers such as water bottles and sports drinks
  • A statewide grant program aimed at preventing teen dating violence

The budget will now go to a conference committee for reconciliation with the version passed by the House in April.


Keep our journalism strong! Support The Citizen Journalism Fund today. Contact The Bedford Citizen: editor@thebedfordcitizen.org or 781-325-8606

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