It was only 1 year ago that the Legislature had yet to pass its FY21 budget and had suspended its own rules to stay in session and continue working on big issues such as healthcare reform, climate change, and economic development legislation.
When the FY2021-FY2022 session began in January, we were still uncertain whether the Administration and Legislature would be back to their typical budget process. However, by spring we saw that despite virtual meetings and sessions, the budget process looked much more like a typical budget year.
After over a month of negotiations, on July 19th, Governor Baker signed the FY22 $47.6 billion budget into law. This budget, which includes historic levels of funding for MWA’s priorities, also reflects MWA’s work to ensure an additional $4.5 million for MassHire Career Centers. MWA is grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration, the Senate President, House Speaker, Chairman Michlewitz, Chairman Rodrigues, and the entire House and Senate for their support.
Some of the key investments in workforce development include:
- $9.5M for Career Centers
- $15.3M for Career Technical Institutes
- $17M for WCTF
- $24M for YouthWorks
- $7.5M for Connecting Activities (including $500K in earmarks)
- $300K for Learn to Earn
- $2.5M for Manufacturing
- $2.5M for Re-Entry
In the weeks since the budget was signed, the House and Senate have taken up several items vetoed by Governor Baker. While the Governor again returned some items already overridden by the Legislature, we expect Legislators to re-override those items when they return from recess. Click here to review the line items and policy sections that Governor Baker vetoed.
Now that the budget has been signed into law, the Joint Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Federal Stimulus and Census Oversight have begun to hold joint hearings on how to allocate federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds received by the state. ARPA was signed into law on March 11, 2021. In total, Massachusetts will receive $8.7 billion to be spent by 2026: $3.4 billion that is going directly to local governments and $5.3 billion that will be spent by the state. Currently, $4.89 billion is under consideration by the Legislature.
Tonja Mettlach, MWA’s Executive Director, was among the speakers at the last hearing that focused on housing, labor, and workforce development. As Tonja shared during the hearing, “We need significant and immediate funding in order for the workforce system to meet expected demand over the months and years to come.” You can read MWA’s testimony here.
Additional hearings are anticipated in August and September on topics including health care, public health, mental health and human services; economic development, transportation, arts, tourism, climate and infrastructure; and education, social equity, and safety net programs.