Senator Anthony Petruccelli and Representative Adrian Madaro were able to override Governor Charlie Baker’s vetoes of several East Boston earmarks in the state’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget last week during a joint session of the House and Senate.
Two weeks ago, Baker had signed a $38.1 billion budget but slashed $162 billion in spending that included funding for the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, Constitution Beach, substance abuse programs, and other initiatives in the community.
“I applaud my colleagues in the House and Senate for seeing that these line items in the Fiscal Year 2016 State Budget are essential to the quality of life not only in East Boston but the surrounding communities,” said Petruccelli. “Some of these items aggressively address issues that we have been trying to tackle statewide like substance abuse.”
Both, Petruccelli and his counterpart in the House, Madaro, were able to restore funding for an EBNHC substance abuse program, which was a top priority this year for the two elected officials. In their overrides, Petruccelli and Madaro were able to secure a total of $75,000 that will be dedicated to the development and administration of a program to prevent and treat addiction to opioid and related substances through the Health Center.
The passage of this line item will allow for the closing of a service gap and ensure councilors will now be able to cover the critical hours of night and weekend shifts with the hopes that this coverage could be the difference needed in preventing overdoses and encouraging future treatment.
Madaro’s own amendments requesting $25,000 for State Police to be able to patrol Constitution Beach that was vetoed by the Governor was also restored.
The line item by Petruccelli and Madaro that is critical to assisting in the statewide substance abuse epidemic remains in the budget. A total of $500,000 will allow for school districts to have the opportunity to apply to receive grant money to in an effort to aid in providing substance abuse counseling.
Madaro’s line item of $120,000 to support Project Bread and the Massachusetts Farm to School Project, which takes locally grown fruits and vegetables and distributes them to low income families in East Boston and beyond, will remain in the budget.
Petruccelli also received additional allocations for a line item that will direct funds towards the creation of a job readiness program at East Boston High School. This program, known as the National Youth Development Council, will train students at EBHS for careers in entertainment technology and high technology with the goal of providing students with the skills necessary to qualify them for entry level jobs and internships.
“I’m happy we were able to restore funding to these vital East Boston programs,” said Madaro. “These funds will go directly to addressing substance abuse, improving the quality of life of thousands of residents and improve education and job training for our youth in the neighborhood. I’m particularly excited about being able to secure funding for the Massachusetts Farm to School Project, which will give our children in the neighborhood access to healthy and nutritious school lunches directly from local farms.”