Governor Charlie Baker signed the $38.1 billion state Fiscal Year 2016 budget but slashed some line items that East Boston’s two state elected officials advocated for in both the House and Senate’s version of the state budget.
Last week, Senator Anthony Petruccelli and Representative Adrian Madaro applauded their colleagues that voted in a joint committee that approved a $38.145 billion FY16 budget because it not only has an emphasis on economic growth, support for residents most in need and reform of the state’s transportation system but also several earmarks for East Boston programs.
Both Petruccelli and Madaro advocated for several line items to be included in the budget order to support the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, Project Bread, East Boston High School, Constitution Beach, substance abuse programs, and other initiatives in the community.
“The formation of our Commonwealth’s budget continues to remain one of the most important issues debated among the two branches,” said Petruccelli. “However, I’m disappointed that some line items that addressed issues like substance through a partnership with the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center were cut.”
Both Petruccelli and his counterpart in the House, Madaro, made securing funding for the EBNHC a top priority this year. The two elected officials were able to secure a total of $75,000 that would have been dedicated to the development and administration of a program to prevent and treat addiction to opioid and related substances through the Health Center.
However, this line item was slashed by the Governor as he vetoed $162 million in spending.
“The passage of this line item would have allowed 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,” said Madaro.
Madaro’s own amendments requesting $25,000 for State Police to be able to patrol Constitution Beach was also vetoed by the Governor.
However, a line item by Petruccelli and Madaro that is critical to assisting in the statewide substance abuse epidemic received support from Baker. A total of $500,000 will allow school districts to have the opportunity to apply to receive grant money in an effort to aid in providing substance abuse counseling.
Madaro was also the champion of having pushed to receive $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. This line item remained in the Governor’s signed 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.
The budget will now go back to the House and Senate for overrides.