April 14th Information &
Resource Update
House Ways & Means Committee Releases Proposed
FY22 State Budget

The state House Ways and Means Committee today released its proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2022. The plan overall includes $47.65 billion in spending, a 2.6% increase over the current Fiscal Year's budget and an increase of 3.9% over the Governor's FY22 budget proposal.

House members have until Friday to file amendments to the proposal, which is expected to be taken up by the full House during the week of April 26th. Click here to explore the House Ways and Means FY22 budget proposal in detail.

Included within the House Ways and Means proposal are:

Local Aid
  • Provides $5.503 billion for Chapter 70 aid
  • Provides $1.168 billion for Unrestricted General Government Aid
  • Provides $367.7 million for Circuit Breaker Special Education reimbursement
  • Provides $154.6 million for Charter School Reimbursement
  • Provides $82.2 million for Regional School Transportation reimbursement
  • Provides $55 million in one-time school assistance: $40 million for addressing COVID-related enrollment volatility, and $15 million for summer school costs addressing mental health and socialization issues
  • Provides $33 million for PILOT Payments
  • Provides $20 million for the Massachusetts Cultural Council
  • Provides $14.49 million for homeless student transportation
  • Provides $13.5 million for regional public library systems, a $1 million increase over FY21
  • Provides $13 million for state aid to public libraries, a $1 million increase over FY21
  • Provides $3 million for District Local Technical Assistance
  • Provides $1.5 million for the Sewer Rate Relief Fund

  • Provides $90.5 million for the Regional Transit Authorities (includes $3.5 million for discretionary grants)

Energy and Environmental Affairs
  • Provides $63.4 million at for the Clean Water Trust Contract Assistance, a $24.3 million increase over the Governor's proposal
  • Provides $30 million for Emergency Food Assistance, $10 million over the Governor's proposal
  • Provides $2.2 million to coordinate and implement strategies for climate change adaptation and preparedness including but not limited to transportation, energy and public health infrastructure, built environments, municipal assistance, improved data collection

Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
  • Transfers $10 million to a new fund to build the wind energy workforce
  • Provides $5 million for Small Business Technical Assistance Grants
  • Provides $5 million for the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism for post-pandemic renewal

Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development
  • Provides $2 million for the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership
  • Provides $4 million for Career Technical Institutes
  • Funds a $10 million transfer to the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund

Higher Education
  • Provides $314.8 million for community colleges
  • Provides $291.7 million for state universities
  • Provides $1.5 million for the Massachusetts Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Grant Fund (Pipeline Fund)

Department of Public Utilities
  • Provides $1.9 million for the operation of the Division of Transportation Network Companies

The Senate is expected to follow a similar process to develop its version of the FY22 budget next month. Differences between the House and Senate budgets will then be reconciled in a conference committee, before being returned to each chamber for an up-or-down vote. The Governor then has the option to sign or veto specific line items, which the Legislature in turn may override. Click here for full details regarding the state budget process.
SBA Increases Lending Limit for COVID-19 EIDL Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration has increased the maximum amount small businesses and non-profit organizations can borrow through its COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Effective last week, the SBA has raised the loan limit for the COVID-19 EIDL program from 6 months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $150,000 to up to 24 months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $500,000.

Businesses that received a loan subject to the previous limits do not need to submit a request for an increase at this time; SBA will reach out directly via email and provide more details about how businesses can request an increase. Any new loan applications and any loans in process when the new loan limits are implemented will automatically be considered for loans covering 24 months of economic injury up to a maximum of $500,000. To learn more about the EIDL program or to apply for a loan, click here.

SBA has also extended deferment periods for all disaster loans, including COVID-19 EIDLs, until 2022. In order to shift all EIDL payments to 2022, SBA will extend the first payment due date for disaster loans made in 2020 to 24 months from the date of the note and to 18 months from the date of the note for all loans made in the calendar year 2021.
WRTA Expands Via Shuttle Service into Shrewsbury
The Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA), in partnership with Via, has expanded their app-based, on-demand shuttle service from Westborough into Shrewsbury. Residents and commuters can download the Via app to their mobile devices to book shared rides between portions of Westborough, Shrewsbury, and Southborough. Via WRTA makes first/last mile connections to and from the Westborough and Southborough Commuter Rail stations, along with servicing area shopping plazas and employment centers.

Service hours are Monday through Friday, 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Rides cost $2 per regular ride, and $1 to/from MBTA stations.
Take the Annual 495/MetroWest Employer Survey!

The 495/MetroWest Partnership invites business and organizational leaders in our service area to take part in our annual 495/MetroWest Employer Survey!

This survey represents a collaborative effort between the 495/MetroWest Partnership and Framingham State University's MetroWest Economic Research Center (MERC). Your participation is greatly appreciated, and is leveraged to promote the region and to ensure its continued prosperity.

Key survey details:

  • Who should participate in this survey: owners, leaders, or individuals with regional hiring authority for private, public, or nongovernmental organizations that have a presence in the 495/MetroWest region.

  • This survey should only take about 5-7 minutes to complete.

  • Your individual responses will be anonymous; your answers will be aggregated and reported with all responses.

  • Survey responses will close on April 23rd.

Thank you for your assistance in continuing this important economic assessment tool for our region.
Watch Recent Partnership Events!

You can now view recordings of recent 495/MetroWest Partnership events and committee meetings via our website!

  • 495/MetroWest Employer Town Hall Series, April Episode: Hosts Greg Bunn, Executive Director of the MassHire Metro South/West Workforce Board, and Jason Palitsch, Executive Director of the 495/MetroWest Partnership, cover topics of interest to area employers each month! This month's episode included updates regarding the PPP program, SBA's Shuttered Venue Operators grant, unemployment changes & the American Rescue Plan, and the region's labbor supply vs. demand. Click here to watch!

  • Discussion with Congressman Jake Auchincloss: The Transportation Committee hosted a discussion with Congressman Jake Auchincloss of Massachusetts’ Fourth Congressional District on March 31st. Serving his first term, Congressman Auchincloss has been assigned to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Click here to view a recording of the meeting.

  • MWRA Presentation: The Water Resources Committee hosted a presentation from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) and the MWRA Advisory Board on Tuesday, March 30th. MWRA is a public authority established by the Legislature in 1984 to provide wholesale water and sewer services in 61 metropolitan Boston communities, including, at present, 6 communities in the Partnership’s service area. Click here to view a recording of the presentation. The presentation focused on MWRA’s activities and services in the Partnership’s service region, and how municipalities interested in joining MWRA may initiate that process. Click here to access the slide presentation from the event

  • Housing Committee First Session: The Housing Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership hosted its first session on Thursday, March 25th. Click here to view a recording of the session. We hosted two presentations, each followed by a Question and Answer period: Amy Dain, Consultant, Dain Research, and author of The State of Zoning for Multi-Family Housing in Greater Boston, presented on the state of multi-family housing in the region and potential strategies going forward, and Chris Kluchman, Deputy Director of the Community Services Division at (DHCD presented an overview of the state’s new Housing Choice legislation and its implementation. Chris Kluchman's presentation slides can be downloaded via this link.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if the Partnership can be of any assistance to you:
Jason Palitsch, Executive Director
(774) 760-0495 x105

Thank you for your continued commitment to strengthening our region.