July 20th Information &
Resource Update
FY22 State Budget Update: Legislature Passes Budget,
Governor Issues Vetoes

Last week, both the House and Senate passed a $48.07 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2022. On Friday, the Governor signed into law substantial portions of the budget, while sending back amendments and vetoes on specific items. The Legislature now has the option to vote to override any of the Governor’s vetoes.

Budget as Passed by the Legislature

The FY22 state budget, as passed by both the House and Senate, increases revenue assumptions by $4.2 billion over the December consensus revenue projection for a new tax revenue projection of $34.35 billion. The FY22 budget does not make a withdrawal and instead transfers funds into the Stabilization Fund, projecting an estimated balance of approximately $5.8 billion for this fund at the end of the fiscal year.

Click here to review the budget, as passed, in its entirety. Note the budget accessible here does not reflect Gubernatorial vetoes or amendments.

Items of note in the budget as passed by the Legislature include, but are not limited to:

Economic Development
  • A $17 million transfer to the Workforce Competitiveness Trust fund
  • $15.4 million for Career Technical Institutes
  • $9.5 million for one-stop career centers
  • $15 million for the Community Empowerment and Reinvestment Grant Program
  • $2.5 million for the Massachusetts Cybersecurity Innovation Fund, including $1.5 million for new regional security operation centers, which will partner with community colleges and state universities to provide cybersecurity workforce training to students and cybersecurity services to municipalities, non-profits, and small businesses
  • $7 million for the Small Business Technical Assistance Grant Program for entrepreneurs and small businesses, focusing on those owned by women, immigrants, veterans, and people of color
  • $6 million for Regional Economic Development Organizations
  • The budget makes the state’s film tax credit permanent and requires an increase in the percentage of production expenses or principal photography days in the Commonwealth from 50% to 75%
  • The budget includes the creation of a trust fund dedicated to job training for the offshore wind industry to be administered by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center with an initial deposit into this fund of $13 million to establish and grow technical training programs in the state's public higher education system and vocational-technical institutions
  • Intended to assist families returning to work, the FY22 budget includes $820 million for the early education sector, including $20 million to increase rates for early education providers, $15 million for Massachusetts Head Start programs, $10 million for the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative to expand public preschool, and $9 million to cover the cost of fees for parents receiving subsidized early education in calendar year 2021
  • This budget converts existing tax deductions for young children, elderly or disabled dependents and business-related dependent care expenses into refundable tax credits

Local Governments
  • The FY22 budget increases the Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) investment by $39.5 million compared to the FY21 budget
  • $3.6 million in funding for Community Compact related programs including best practices and regionalization and efficiency grants
  • $4.8 million for the Public Safety Staffing Grant Program managed by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
  • $3 million for district local technical assistance

  • $150 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program to expand access to affordable housing
  • $85 million for grants to local housing authorities
  • $22 million for the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition Program
  • $8 million for Housing Consumer Education Centers to help administer nearly $1 billion in federal housing relief

  • $94 million to support ongoing RTA operations across the state, and eliminate provisions that make a portion of RTA funding based on performance grants. *This item was impacted by a Gubernatorial veto, reducing the RTA line item from $94 million to $90.5 million and amending the outside section to include language for performance grants

Health Care
  • $15 million for local and regional boards of health
  • $175.6 million for substance use disorder and intervention services provided by the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services
  • $12.5 million to support a student telebehavioral health pilot, public awareness campaigns, loan forgiveness for mental health clinicians, and initiatives to mitigate emergency department boardings for individuals in need of behavioral health support
  • $10 million for Programs of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) grants to provide intensive, community-based behavioral health services for adolescents

  • The Student Opportunity Act (SOA) Investment fund was funded at $350 million to be utilized in the coming years for the implementation of the SOA
  • $571 million for the University of Massachusetts system
  • $315 million for community colleges
  • $291 million for state universities
  • $130 million in scholarship funding; $10.5 million for the community colleges SUCCESS Fund and $4.75 million for the STEM Starter Academy
  • $388.4 million for the Special Education Circuit Breaker, reimbursing school districts for the high cost of educating students with disabilities at the statutorily required 75% reimbursement rate
  • $154.6 million for reimbursing school districts at 75% for costs incurred when students leave to attend charter schools
  • $82.2 million for regional school transportation
  • $50 million for Adult Basic Education

Gubernatorial Amendments and Vetoes

The Governor issued his veto message on Friday, July 16th, outlining vetoes and amendments he had issued to the budget as passed, while signing the majority of its provisions into law. Throughout the budget as passed, the Governor elected to veto $7.9 million in line-item and outside-section spending. Of the 149 outside sections presented in the conference report, the Governor signed 122, vetoed 2, and returned 25 for amendment.

The Legislature may, as the final step of the FY22 budget process, vote to override gubernatorial vetoes.
Governor Signs $350 Million in Transportation Spending,
Including $200 Million for Chapter 90

On Friday, July 16th, Governor Baker signed into law H.3903, An Act Financing Improvements to Municipal Roads and Bridges, a $350 million transportation funding bill which authorizes $200 million in Chapter 90 funding for municipalities, and increases the bonding capacity across six transportation grant programs established for municipalities and Regional Transit Authorities in An Act Authorizing and Accelerating Transportation Investment, a landmark piece of legislation signed by the Governor in January that authorizes funding across all modes of transportation to invest and modernize the Commonwealth’s transportation system. The law carries an emergency preamble, thus making it effective immediately.

While the House version of the bill prioritized spending on enhancing bus transportation infrastructure and bolstering public transit station accessibility and accommodations, the Senate bill focused efforts more broadly, from addressing local bottlenecks to opportunities for municipalities and Regional Transit Authorities to study and plan for fleet electrification. Both bills maintained Chapter 90 funding at $200 million, and authorized an additional $25 million in spending for the municipal small bridge program. Ultimately, all House and Senate funding provisions were adopted in the final bill, but a House provision requiring MassDOT to maintain two-track service on the Framingham/Worcester Line during construction of the Allston Multimodal Project was excluded.

Grant Programs & New Funding Authorizations
  • 6121-2118 - Municipal Small Bridge Program, $95 million
  • 6121-2127 - Localized Bottlenecks, $50 million
  • 6622-2187 - Transit Supportive Infrastructure, $50 million
  • 6921-2114 - Planning/Studying Electric Vehicles, $50 million
  • 6921-2111 - Prioritization of Mass Transit by Bus, $50 million
  • 6921-2112 - Transit Station Accessibility and Accommodations, $50 million

Mass. Clean Energy Center's
Accelerating Clean Transportation for All Program

The Mass. Clean Energy Center’s Accelerating Clean Transportation for All (ACT4All) Program aims to pilot equity-focused transportation programs to address the fact that transportation currently produces more greenhouse gas emissions than any other sector. Awarded projects will help to inform future funding under the Transportation Climate Initiative Program. To achieve program goals, MassCEC will offer Planning Grants to non-profits and community organizations that represent overburdened and underserved populations.

ACT4All aims to address inequities in the clean transportation sector by seeking applications that increase access to clean transportation technologies and decrease health impacts and related burdens from the existing transportation system; demonstrate replicable innovative business and/or incentive models; demonstrate effective program delivery, community partnership, and/or implementation models; broaden the market for clean transportation technologies through consumer education and awareness; and represent the diversity of Massachusetts communities, from a geographic, demographic, and socioeconomic lens.

Eligible topic areas include:
  • Incentive Programs
  • E-Bikes
  • Vehicles-For-Hire and Carsharing
  • Cash-for-Combustors
  • Electric Vehicle Consumer Awareness
  • Short-Haul Freight & Delivery
  • Other pilot projects that focus on equity and inclusion while reducing emissions

Applicants are expected to form teams that include all members necessary to ensure project success and are strongly encouraged to include an organization that represents an overburdened or underserved community. Teams may include:
  • Community-based organizations (CBOs), non-profits, transit advocacy organizations, Environmental Justice advocates
  • Public health organizations
  • Clean transportation technology providers
  • Technical consultants
  • Community Development Corporations, Neighborhood Development Corporations, and other economic development agencies
  • Financial institutions
  • Businesses operating fleets in Massachusetts

Click here for complete program details. Proposals are due September 7th. Virtual Office Hours regarding the program will be held on July 29th, August 11th, and August 23rd.
Proposed Amendments to MassDEP Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Requirements

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) will hold public hearings on proposed amendments to 310 CMR 7.71: Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and 310 CMR 7.75 Clean Energy Standard.

The intent of the proposed amendments are to:
  • Improve consistency between MassDEP’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting program for facilities and the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) GHG reporting program
  • Accurately document the transition of the greenhouse gas reporting program to a new MassDEP electronic reporting platform
  • Remove unnecessary reporting requirements that have been identified as particularly burdensome for facilities. 

To provide consistency with the EPA program, MassDEP is proposing to replace the requirement to quantify emissions in accordance with the General Reporting Protocol (GRP) with a requirement to utilize methods specified in 40 CFR Part 98. The amendments to 310 CMR 7.75 Clean Energy Standard will add a reporting option for municipally-owned retail electricity sellers and clarify the authority of MassDEP to require certain reporting be directly to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.

Two public hearings will be conducted online and via telephone. The public hearings will both be held on Tuesday, August 3rd:

Testimony may be presented orally at the public hearing, or written comments may be submitted until 5:00 PM on August 16th. Written comments must be submitted via email to climate.strategies@mass.gov or by mail to Climate Strategies, MassDEP, One Winter Street, Boston, MA 02018.
MWRTA to Expand MicroTransit Services
to Framingham and Natick on Weekends

On Saturday, August 7th, the MWRTA will expand its app-based Catch Connect service to Saturdays and Sundays, serving downtown Framingham, Natick, and the Golden Triangle shopping area (including the Natick Mall, Shoppers World, Wal-Mart, and other nearby locations).

MWRTA has been operating this service in Wellesley since February 2021. The service is intended to offer added flexibility to riders. MWRTA has also opened this Catch Connect service to its Demand Response riders on Sundays in Framingham and Natick for any purpose, and on weekdays for medical appointments.
By operating Catch Connect service in Framingham and Natick on weekends, MWRTA will be able to gather data and information on how MicroTransit services interact with traditional Fixed Route services.

Catch Connect will operate as a first-come-first-serve shared ride service, meaning that while it is on-demand, riders may need to wait for a driver to become available depending on levels of service. The accessible vehicles utilized will be able to accommodate 4-8 passengers at a time. Click here to access additional information on this upcoming service.
Investor Spotlight: Bowditch

Throughout 2021, the 495/MetroWest Partnership is acknowledging our Investors in our Information & Resource Updates. Click here to learn about becoming an Investor!
Bowditch is a highly-regarded law firm handling sophisticated transactions, challenging litigation and complex regulatory issues for businesses, families and institutions throughout Massachusetts, the region and beyond. With more than 60 lawyers seamlessly connected in three strategic Massachusetts offices – Boston, Framingham and Worcester ­– Bowditch is a preeminent law firm, deep in the areas of business and finance, real estate and environmental, litigation, employment and labor, and estate and tax planning, delivering outstanding client satisfaction and big-firm quality legal services. Learn more at Bowditch.com.

The 495/MetroWest Partnership thanks Bowditch for their PARTNER level investment! Check out our full list of Investors at 495Partnership.org.
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.