In full transparency, this is a press release submitted to SOURCE media.
BOSTON – Late Wednesday night, the Massachusetts House of Representatives concluded the Fiscal Year 2022 budget debate. With the support and tireless work of Leadership, the House Progressive Caucus is excited to announce the inclusion of all three priorities in addition to many other progressive wins.
“We greatly appreciate the partnership that Speaker Mariano and Chair Michlewitz have built with the Progressive Caucus,” said co-chair Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier (D-Pittsfield). “It was clear that listening to the entire membership, including our caucus, was central to FY22 Budget process. The resulting budget is a reflection of our perspectives and our collective values.”
“Budgets are more than line items and spreadsheets,” said Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis (D-Framingham), co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus. “Budgets are promises to support all the residents of the Commonwealth and invest in our shared future. This House Budget embodies the deepest commitments of our Commonwealth by raising the Conservation Land Tax Credit, increasing support for families living in deep poverty, and expanding funding to civil legal aid, emergency housing assistance, and public education.”
The Caucus scored a major progressive win by receiving the entirety of our request for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) line item. The increased funding for civic legal aid to $35 million for the Commonwealth will help support the attorneys who have been on the frontlines supporting and assisting residents in maintaining stable housing, unemployment benefits, immigration aid, and more.
The Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program received a nearly $8 million increase from the Governor’s budget following Caucus advocacy. We are proud to be spending this $22 million for RAFT in the upcoming fiscal year and look forward to working
with Leadership to see that this essential program is fully supported over the entire fiscal year.
Additionally, in working with education advocates, the House Progressive Caucus is fulfilling the promises of the Student Opportunity Act, which had seen a delay in funding in its first year due to the pandemic. By adjusting to a 1/6 implementation rate of the Student Opportunity Act, Massachusetts will get back on track to supporting students, particularly those in underfunded communities. The additional $40 million in reserve funding is crucial to addressing the significant enrollment fluctuations throughout the state and supporting our students and teachers during and after the pandemic.
This is the beginning of what the Caucus hopes to be a productive session advocating for progressive values.
The Co-chairs and the Caucus Members are encouraged by these wins and look forward to continued collaboration with Leadership and successes in the future.