The Legislature added $79 million to Governor Charlie Baker’s proposed FY 2023 DDS budget for a total increase of $118 million. Funding will assist over 6,000 additional persons and families.
Under the leadership of Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka, both branches voted to send the package to the Governor for his signature. The number of additional constituents impacted by this budget include:
- 1,560 people in employment or day services
- Nearly 1,800 people for transportation
- 343 children with autism
- 900 people Turning 22
- 285 adults with autism
- 5,000 families with support
Special thanks to conferees which included Ways and Means leaders including Chairs Aaron Michlewitz and Michael Rodrigues, Vice Chairs Ann Margaret Ferrante and Cindy Friedman, and Ranking minority members Todd Smola and Patrick O’Connor. We appreciate the fact that the conferees and the General Court heard the pleas from The Arc and its constituents regarding the continued negative impact from the pandemic and workforce crisis.
If delays to services persist due to the workforce crisis, legislators allowed for the transfer of monies between accounts, so that local support services can be funded for those who continue to be unserved. The conferees also included this language: “provide bridge funding for community-based provider agencies to redesign their current service model … providing technology supports for staff during the transition … develop a new, more fluid service model based on the real-time, individual needs of constituents otherwise unable to engage in traditional day services.”
The Arc plans to meet soon with the administration to talk about strategies for transfers when needed.
Although The Arc continues to review the full budget, we want to note three policy items for which we advocated here:
- Senator Paul Feeney’s ABA study and funding was accepted by Conference and placed with funding into the Day/Employment account (5920-2025).
- Major language and funding advancement in Higher Ed Concurrent Enrollment (MAICEI, 7066-9600) which had been championed by MAC and supported by The Arc was included; sponsored by Senator Joan Lovely and Representatives Sean Garballey and Pat Haddad
- The establishment of a special commission with funding to study and report on the history of state institutions for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities or mental health, sponsored by Senator Mike Barrett and championed by a collaboration of groups, also passed (Section 144)