State Budget Priorities

Our mission has always been about collaboration between the private and public sectors, bringing together philanthropists, social service agencies and community leaders to help individuals and families overcome their hurdles to opportunity and inclusion.
We have highlighted a few of our priorities here, with links to the Amendment text and a list of current co-sponsors, which we will be discussing with legislators in the weeks ahead.

Transitions to Work (Representative Tom Sannicandro) – The Transitions model, based on a program developed by the Ruderman Family Foundation provides job training services and support for individuals with disabilities, providing transferrable skills for competitive employment. This employer-focused model works with businesses to identify needs and trains these students to meet these needs and achieve sustainable employment. People with disabilities are often eager and able to work with the right training, and this program has achieved an 80% job placement rate with 98% job retention over its 3 years. https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/House/H3400/Amendment/House/475/OriginalText

Bridges to College: (Representative Aaron Michlewitz) – Bridges leverages major employer investments in professional development and state investments in adult secondary education by providing employees, students exiting a GED, Adult Diploma ESOL class and others who are un-prepared to go to college with a viable pathway to college enrollment and success. Bridges also saves the Commonwealth, and students thousands of dollars by avoiding remedial education classes and placing students in college-level classes when they are prepared. The Department of Higher Education recently awarded contracts to Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) (in partnership with MassBay Community College); Catholic Charities/El Centro Adult Education Program; Hampden County Sherriff’s Department (in partnership with Springfield Technical Community College); and Northern Essex Community College. https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/House/H3400/Amendment/House/307/OriginalText

Employment Service Program: (Representative Mike Moran) – ESSP includes targeted services such as training in vocational English, job search and placement services and is therefore critical in assisting immigrants and refugees unable to benefit from other ESP programs. This program provides vocational English and job culture training to a highly motivated population who are seeking to gain a foothold in the local economy. https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/House/H3400/Amendment/House/894/OriginalText

Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (Representative Frank Smizik) – Services provided through a NORC in an “Aging in Place” model allow elders to continue living independently in their homes and also reduce the utilization of costly nursing home care. It is important to allow seniors to age in place, both for their own self dignity and for the significant cost-savings for the Commonwealth, which are outlined below. NORCs are high impact, low cost initiatives that bring “assisted living facility” type services to seniors who reside in buildings that were originally not designed or planned as senior housing. https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/House/H3400/Amendment/House/511/OriginalText

Fragile Beginnings (Representative Tom Stanley) – Fragile Beginnings meets the pressing needs of parents whose babies are born prematurely or with complex medical problems by providing expert guidance, emotional support, streamlined access to community resources, and connections to other parents who understand the stress of caring for a premature infant. This slight increase will allow JFCS to hire an Infant Mental Health Specialist who will provide consultation to the Fragile Beginnings staff plus home-based treatment for parents whose mental health issues jeopardize their ability to care for their premature infants. https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/House/H3400/Amendment/House/705/OriginalText

Earned Income Tax Credit (626) (Representative Marjorie Decker) – The Earned Income Tax Credit is a targeted method for putting money into the hands of working people in order to help them meet their basic familial needs. The outcomes of an increased EITC are clear: improved health of children and mother’s; increased academic performance; increased earning potential for future generations; and greater social security contributions. This amendment would increase the State’s share from 15% to 50% of the federal credit. https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/House/H3400/Amendment/House/626/OriginalText

Transitional Assistance (632): (Representative Decker) – This amendment would support a 15% grant increase (about $70/month) for families on TAFDC as well as preserving the $40/month rent allowance for families paying private rent and the children’s clothing allowance. TAFDC grants were last raised in July 2000 and have lost nearly half their value over the last 25 years. https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/House/H3400/Amendment/House/632/OriginalText