Massachusetts House Passes FY25 Budget

Today, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed its Fiscal Year 2025 (FY25) budget. Funded at $58 billion, $62 million below Governor Maura Healey’s budget proposal, the House’s FY25 budget responds to the needs of residents, provides strong support for the Commonwealth’s cities and towns, and among many critical investments, includes significant funding for education, transportation, health care, housing, and workforce development.

“This budget takes a fiscally responsible approach to making meaningful investments in areas of significant need. I’m proud of the fact that the House’s FY25 budget allocates key funding to better support Massachusetts students and families, to increase access to affordable health care, and to provide for a safer and more reliable public transportation system,” said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy). “I want to thank Chairman Aaron Michlewitz and the entire House Committee on Ways and Means for crafting this budget, as well as all my colleagues in the House for their hard work and critical input throughout this process, a collective effort that has helped to produce a strong and responsible FY25 budget.”

“This budget builds off the successes of the last few years by prioritizing our residents. Whether it is greater investments into programs like housing stability, public transportation, or early education, these initiatives are a reflection of our shared values,” said Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Chair of the House Committee on Ways & Means (D-Boston). “By reinvesting in the people of the Commonwealth, we will continue make our economy more competitive and equitable for years to come. I want to thank Speaker Mariano for his leadership during this budget process, as well as my Vice-Chairs Ann-Margaret Ferrante and Patricia Haddad, and the entire membership of the House for their thoughts and guidance over the last few months to make this a more successful and well-rounded budget.”

Due to responsible fiscal management, the House’s FY25 budget is balanced, and makes significant investments across a number of issue areas, without needing to draw from the Stabilization Fund, which is set to reach a record high of $9.053 billion.

“At a time when state revenues are uncertain, the House has produced a fiscally responsible budget that sustains state services and invests in the future of the Commonwealth,” said Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester), Vice Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means. “With the end of substantial pandemic-era federal assistance, we must make investments in areas necessary to create lasting economic growth. This budget emphasizes the need to make Massachusetts an attractive and competitive place to live and work, with investments in housing, workforce development, and education. Thank you to Speaker Mariano and Chair Michlewitz for your leadership in these uncertain times.”

“We take pride in our collective efforts to develop a budget that mirrors the needs of our constituents,” Representative Patricia A. Haddad (D-Somerset), Assistant Vice Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means. “The FY25 budget underscores our dedication to significant investments in healthcare, education, housing, veteran services, energy, and environmental services, among other critical areas.

Passing this budget will provide vital protection for the cities and towns of the Bay State, particularly amidst fiscal challenge. Our commitment to supporting municipalities has never been more resolute, with local aid emerging as a top priority to sustain essential local services.”

The budget passed today includes $1.3 billion in investments for transportation and education initiatives made possible because funding generated by the Fair Share ballot initiative that voters approved in November 2022, which established a surtax of 4 percent on annual income above $1 million.

House’s FY25 Fair Share Investments

Education Transportation
Universal School Meals $190,000,000Commonwealth Transportation Fund Transfer$250,000,000
Child Care Grants to Providers$175,000,000Regional Transit Funding and Grants$90,000,000
Financial Aid Expansion $80,000,000MBTA Capital Investments $75,000,000
Child Care Rate Increase $65,000,000MBTA Workforce/Safety Reserve $65,000,000
Minimum per Pupil Aid $37,000,000MBTA Academy $40,000,000
Income Eligible Waitlist $30,000,000MBTA Resilient Rides $35,000,000
Early Literacy $30,000,000 Roads & Bridges Supplemental Aid $25,000,000
MassReconnect $24,000,000 MBTA Means-Tested Fares $20,000,000
State U’s SUCCESS Program $14,000,000Water Transportation $5,000,000
Higher Education Capital Funding $10,000,000
Targeted Scholarships $10,000,000
Green SchoolWorks $10,000,000
DHE Endowment Match $10,000,000
UMass Endowment Match $10,000,000
TOTAL $695,000,000 TOTAL $605,000,000

Local Aid and Education

The FY25 House budget funds Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) at $1.283 billion, and Chapter 70 education funding at $6.863 billion, representing a $309 million increase over the funding provided for Chapter 70 in the FY24 budget. The budget also funds the fourth year of a six-year implementation plan for the Student Opportunity Act (SOA), which was enacted in 2019 to ensure that public schools have the necessary resources to provide high-quality education to students, regardless of zip code or income level. The budget provides an additional $74 per pupil in minimum aid supplements, increasing the minimum aid total to $104 per pupil. Additionally, the budget includes the following education initiatives:

  • $493 million for the Special Education Circuit Breaker program
  • $199 million for charter school aid
  • $99 million for regional school transportation
  • $29 million for homeless student transportation

The House’s FY25 budget continues to fully fund universal free school meals programming for every public-school student in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts is one of only eight states in the country with permanent free school meals for all students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Due to this program, which the House has extended each year since the COVID-19 pandemic began, since 2019, more than 100,000 additional kids ate school lunch daily through October 2023, according to the Feed Kids Campaign. This budget also invests $30 million for improved early literacy programming to ensure high-quality reading instruction is available to students in pre-kindergarten through 3rd grade.

Public Transportation

The House budget includes a record investment of $555 million for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), as well as $184 million for the Regional Transit Authorities that serve commuters across Massachusetts. These investments include:

  • $314 million operating transfer to the MBTA
  • $184 million to support operations and transit improvements at the state’s 15 Regional Transit Authorities
  • $75 million for MBTA capital investments in physical infrastructure
  • $65 million for projects that address safety concerns at the MBTA related to the findings of the Federal Transit Administration’s Safety Management Inspection initiated in April 2022
  • $40 million to create an MBTA Academy to support recruiting and training efforts, and establish a pipeline for a skilled workforce across departments
  • $35 million to create a Resilient Rides program to support climate adaptation and climate readiness capital improvement projects in the stations are rails located in the most climate-vulnerable areas of the system
  • $20 million for reduced MBTA fares for riders with low incomes
  • $5 million for grants for ferry services

Early Education and Care

Continuing the House’s longstanding commitment towards investing in the early education and care (EEC) workforce, the House budget includes $45 million to sustain FY24 rate increases and provides an additional $20 million in FY25 rate increases for child care providers across the Commonwealth. Other early education and care investments, some of which are made permanent through this budget, include:

  • $475 million for Commonwealth Cares for Children (C3) grants
  • $357 million for child care for children involved with the Department of Children & Families and the Department of Transitional Assistance
  • $417 million for child care for low-income families
  • $30 million to reduce the income-eligible waitlist
  • $20 million for child care resource and referral agencies
  • $17.5 million for Head Start grants
  • $10 million for an EEC educator scholarship program
  • $10 million for an EEC educator loan forgiveness program

To create a new funding source for EEC initiatives, the budget the House passed today would allow the Massachusetts Lottery to sell its products online. A portion of the new revenue collected from online lottery sales, estimated to be $100 million annually, would fund C3 grants, which provide long-term stability for high-quality and affordable care for families.

In order to ensure grants are providing optimal results for families and communities with the greatest needs, the House budget provides an equitable funding formula for C3 grants that supports the state’s most vulnerable children, setting aside $240 million (50.5 percent) for providers serving at least 25 percent of children who are eligible for Child Care Financial Assistance (CCFA), $135 million (28.4 percent) for providers serving less than 25 percent of children eligible for CCFA, and $100 million (21.1 percent) for providers who do not serve any families eligible for assistance. It also caps the grant amount for-profit, multi-state or franchised organizations receive at 0.33 percent of funding annually. As federal funding for the C3 program is no longer available, the Department of Early Education and Care must recommend a new C3 funding formula after 5 years.

Higher Education

The House budget allocates $784 million for the University of Massachusetts system, $404 million for community colleges, and $395 million for state universities. Other higher education investments include:

  • $175 million for scholarships
  • $80 million for a MassGrant Plus expansion
  • $24 million for MassReconnect, which provides free community college to students over the age of 25 to complete their education and training
  • $14 million for the Community College SUCCESS program
  • $14 million for the State University SUCCESSS program
  • $15 million for the Early College Initiative
  • $12.6 million for the Dual Enrollment Partnership

Affordable and Accessible Housing

The FY25 budget maintains the House’s commitment to protect renters and homeowners across the Commonwealth from eviction and homelessness by investing in the following programs:

  • $325 million for the Emergency Assistance (EA) program, which provides shelter to families with children and pregnant women
  • $219 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP)
  • $197.4 million for Rental Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program
  • $57.3 million for HomeBase
  • $10 million for shelter workforce assistance
  • $8.9 million for the Home and Healthy for Good program, including $500,000 for the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance

Workforce Development

The House budget funds the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development at $115 million. Additionally, it invests in the following initiatives:

  • $59.4 million for Adult Basic Education Services
  • $20.2 million for Labor and Workforce Development Shared Services
  • $18.4 million for DTA Employment and Training Services
  • $16.2 million for Summer Jobs for At Risk Youth
  • $10.4 million for Career Technical Institutes
  • $10 million for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund
  • $10 million for the Targeted Scholarship Program for high-demand industries
  • $9.9 million for One Stop Career Centers
  • $7.8 million for School-to-Career Connecting Activities
  • $5.4 million for Higher Education Innovation Fund Grants
  • $3.8 million for Registered Apprenticeship Expansion
  • $3.5 for Career and Technical Education Grants

Energy and Environmental Affairs

The House’s budget invests $579.9 million in Energy and Environmental Affairs, including:

  • $159.7 million for the Department of Conservation and Recreation
  • $86.7 million for the Department of Environmental Protection
  • $75.4 million for the Department of Agricultural Resources
  • $63.4 million for the Clean Water Trust

It also includes $35 million for an MBTA Resilient Rides program, a $30 million transfer to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, and $10 million in continued support for Green SchoolWorks program to decarbonize and increase efficiency in our schools through green energy projects.

The budget creates a new Disaster Relief and Resiliency Fund, initially consisting of $14 million, for permanent emergency disaster relief from natural disasters or other catastrophic events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, landslides, extreme winds, and extreme temperatures. It also creates a new Environmental Justice Fund to be funded by settlements from the Attorney General’s Division of Environmental Protection for remediation projects in disadvantaged communities such as restoration of natural resource, projects for community health or well-being, mitigation of environmental pollution or harm.

Health and Human Services

The House budget includes $20.8 billion for MassHealth, representing the largest investment in the budget. It includes a provision that would provide prenatal vitamins and over-the-counter oral contraceptives at no cost for MassHealth and Health Safety Net (HSN) members, as well as another provision to eliminate co-pays and premiums for certain children’s insurance plans.

The House’s FY25 budget invests in the human services workforce, which provides services to our most vulnerable residents, by including $390 million for Chapter 257 rates for health and human service workers, and $50 million for rate increases for nursing facilities. It also protects the Personal Care Attendant program by requiring that eligibility criteria and services be maintained at FY24 levels. It also funds the following initiatives:

  • $13 million for the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative
  • $10 million to support more intensive programs for adolescents with complex behavioral needs
  • $4.9 million in workforce development for funding for nurses through recruitment bonuses, educator funding, and testing
  • $3 million for the Besty Lehman Center for Patient Safety
  • $28 million for Councils on Aging

Public Health and Mental Health

The House budget funds the Department of Public Health at $1 billion and the Department of Mental Health at $1.18 billion for FY25. Investments include:

  • $193.5 million for the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS)
  • $14.2 million for statewide and community-based suicide prevention
  • $1.25 million for prostate cancer awareness, education, and research
  • $622.3 million for adult support services
  • $130.5 million for child and adolescent services

Criminal Justice

The House budget continues to invest in programs and policies to uphold our commitment to criminal justice reform by reducing recidivism rates and increasing access to justice and inmate services. It also effectuates the closure of MCI-Concord, a medium security jail that is currently operating at half capacity, and authorizes the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance to convey the property.

It also includes the following investments:

  • $32.7 million for the Office of Community Corrections
  • $15.6 million for Community Based Reentry Services
  • $7 million for Emerging Adults Pre-and-Post Release Reentry Grants
  • $4.8 million for Housing Assistance for Reentry Transition
  • $2.75 million for Reentry Workforce Development and Supportive Services
  • $1.6 million for the School of Reentry
  • $52.5 million for Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corp. to provide legal services to the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable populations
  • $35 million transfer to the No-Cost Calls Trust Fund to provide free phone calls for inmates and their families
  • $4.8 million to cover the costs of afterhours bail fees
  • $3.2 million for Prisoners’ Legal Services
  • $2.5 million to implement an access to counsel pilot program to provide legal representation for low-income families in eviction proceedings

Speaker Mariano and the House Committee on Ways & Means introduced their FY25 budget proposal on April 10, 2024, following a review of the Governor’s proposal and a series of public hearings. The budget passed the House of Representatives 153-4, and now goes to the Senate for consideration.