Daily News

Senate Passes Supplemental Budget Including Proposed $20 Million for Farms

BOSTON — The Massachusetts State Senate passed a $513 million supplemental budget for FY 2023 this week. Among other key priorities, the legislation funds flexible assistance for farms throughout the Commonwealth impacted by recent severe weather events.

“Investing in our people is vital to keeping the Commonwealth competitive, and that is precisely what this supplemental budget does,” Senate President Karen Spilka said. “This budget invests in the services that people around the Commonwealth use every day — the hospitals where people receive critical care, the special-education programs in our schools, and programs that improve quality of life for individuals and families who are low-income, among other state priorities. It also gives critical relief to farmers around the state who have been devastated by this year’s extreme weather.”

State Sen. Jo Comerford, assistant vice chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, added that “I am tremendously grateful that the Senate is standing with farmers in the wake of a disaster with $20 million in funding for affected farmers and growers. These public funds will go out as direct grants. That’s money in the pockets of farmers who have experienced a massive hardship in the wake of the extreme flooding earlier this month and the frosts and freezes this past spring.”

In addition to the $20 million for natural-disaster relief for farms and affected areas, other direct appropriations include $180 million for relief to fiscally strained hospitals, $100 million for a supplemental transfer to the Pension Liability Fund, $75 million to support school districts with extraordinary special-education costs, $60.3 million for staffing needs at the Department of Transitional Assistance, $40 million for a reserve to support costs related to Tatum vs. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, $26.2 million for collective-bargaining-agreement costs, $10.7 million for public-health hospitals, $506,000 for interstate flood compact costs, and $200,000 for Department of Early Education and Care contingency contract costs.