October 22nd 2019 BOSTON – State Representative David K. Muradian, Jr., R-Grafton, recently supported an additional $60 million for the state’s chapter 90 program in the supplemental budget.
The $636 million supplemental budget which was approved by the House of Representatives on October 16, encompasses spending for several policy and funding initiatives across the Commonwealth. In addition to the chapter 90 aid, Representative Muradian was especially pleased to see the supplemental budget provide $5 million to the Department of Agricultural Resources to cover the recent spraying used to reduce the risk of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). EEE, is a mosquito-borne virus that has claimed the lives of four Massachusetts residents this year.
The House of Representatives also took the steps to maintain the state’s positive financial rating by authorizing the deposit of approximately $400 million into the Stabilization Fund, bringing the fund’s balance to $3.2 billion. This money can be used to mitigate the impact of cuts in essential state services and programs in the event of a future economic downturn.
Representative Muradian was also pleased to see the supplemental budget include nearly $2 million for the special education circuit breaker reimbursement program. These additional funds will further assist our districts to provide the necessary support and services for children with disabilities in our local schools.
Along with the allocation of funds to support spraying to reduce EEE and funding for the special education circuit breaker reimbursement program, the supplemental budget also included a provision allowing for early voting in the 2020 Massachusetts Presidential Primary, which will take place on March 3. Eligible voters will be able to cast ballots one week prior to the primary, beginning on Monday, February 24 and ending on Friday, February 28. A total of $750,000 is set aside in the bill to compensate cities and towns for the additional costs associated with early voting. The bill also moves the date of the 2020 state primary from September 15 to September 1. The date change is needed to comply with federal and state laws governing the deadlines for delivering ballots to U.S. military personnel serving overseas; filling vacancies caused by the death, withdrawal or ineligibility of candidates; and holding recounts.
The supplemental budget also:
- authorizes $5 million from the Water Pollution Abatement Revolving Fund to be used for public school deleading projects, including grants;
- allows the Department of Energy Resources to expend Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) funds to support the electric vehicle incentive program by providing consumers with rebates between $2,500 and $5,000 for the purchase or lease of battery electric vehicles, fuel cell electric vehicles and zero-emissions vehicles;
- provides $8.4 million for the testing of water supplies for potential per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination and for grants to treat affected drinking water systems;
- transfers $20 million to the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust to remediate PFAS contamination of public water supplies; and
- establishes a 19-member task force to review and investigate PFAS water and ground contamination across the Commonwealth, with a report to be filed with the Legislature by December 31, 2020.
The supplemental budget now heads to the Senate for further action.