Last week, the Massachusetts State Senate completed its blueprint of the budget. Funding in both the House and Senate include The Arc’s priorities. Increases in Day, Employment, and Family Support are in both branches. Other line items such as Residential and Autism Omnibus appear to have adequate funding.
On May 11, the Senate Ways & Means Committee released its FY’22 budget. The proposed budget reflects the legislature’s efforts to alleviate the challenges and difficulties the Commonwealth, and particularly the disability community, has faced this past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also puts forth a thoughtful plan on how we move forward in an equitable way. The Committee’s budget invests over $2.39 billion in a variety of services and programs that assist people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and autism. We’re pleased to see the Senate maintain the House FY’22 budget increases in the DDS line items, including Day and Employment ($15 million increase), Transportation ($7 million increase) and Family Support ($7 million increase), with a total increase of $29 million.
This week, Governor Charlie Baker announced that Massachusetts will “reopen some outdoor Phase 4, Step 2 industries effective May 10th and put plans in place for further reopening on May 29th and August 1st.” What wasn’t said is very important to our community: When will re-opening of our community day and employment services take place?