We are at a key phase of the budget process when the House and Senate will develop one common budget for FY 2023, which begins this July 1, through a Conference Committee.
Both branches advanced Supportive Technology and Autism Omnibus. Both also maintained the Governor’s proposed funding for Residential services, Family Support (which grew by $5 million), DESE, and the Turning 22 account, which received a $4 million increase to keep pace with graduates.
But differences exist for which we need to urge our officials to support. Whether your Representative or Senator is on the 6-member Conference Committee or not, you can ask them to support these priorities, and a phone call would be ideal:
- Request the House Version for the following DDS line items:
- Community Day and Employment (DDS 5920-2025) at $278,362,283 to provide increased utilization of employment support, education, and training.
- Transportation (DDS 5911-2000) at $33,869,314 to manage increased costs for drivers, vehicle price increases and need for program flexibilities.
- Children’s Autism (DDS 5920-3010) at $13,933,900 to alleviate the COVID impact on early intervention and address increased behavioral health needs.
Maintaining these amounts are vital for individuals with IDD and autism. The House increases funding capacity in Employment/Day and Transportation Accounts to 85% capacity, while the Senate budget remains at or close to the 60% projected in the Governor’s request.
- Request combined House and Senate language for 5920-2025 – the language shared to conferees by The Arc of Massachusetts.
- The House version provides language (bridge) to address limited services post-COVID and workforce shortage as well as funding at 85% of pre-COVID utilization.
- The Senate language provides increased flexibility between line items, and it authorizes a pilot, which funds adults with complex behavioral conditions to receive applied behavioral analysis supports (ABA).
- Request the Senate version for the following line items or items of language:
- MassHealth disability and senior line item (4000-0601) increase at $3,750,795,619.
- Senate section #139 that creates a Disability Commission to study and report on the history of state institutions for people with IDD and mental health needs in the Commonwealth.
- A $4 million allocation for MA Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (7099-9600) and language that will support more high school students (ages 18-22) with IDD with access to higher education opportunities.
Thank you again for listening and responding across these months. We will reboot activities to advance funding for the direct support workforce beyond the $230 million in this year’s budget. In the meantime, please contact your legislators!