Investments focus on helping those hardest hit by COVID-19 and supporting local priorities
For Immediate Release: December 14, 2021
Contact: Peter Jasinski | email@example.com
BOSTON – Following final votes earlier this month by both the Massachusetts Senate and House, Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday signed a $4 billion spending plan drawing on funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and state surplus revenues to mitigate impacts of the ongoing pandemic, and support key local and statewide programs.
Baker’s approval followed votes taken by the House on December 2 and Senate on December 3 approving the bill, which allocates more than half the Commonwealth’s roughly $5 billion in federal ARPA funds and $1.45 billion in surplus state tax revenues.
“For nearly two years, far too many Massachusetts residents have struggled through the pandemic, and this legislation will bring them the relief that they need and deserve,” said Senator John F. Keenan (D-Quincy). “This bill also marks the rare opportunity to invest in solutions to longstanding problems that the Commonwealth has lacked the resources to resolve.”
Roughly $500 million in ARPA and surplus funding is allocated in the spending plan to replenish the Commonwealth’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. Other investments tied to COVID-19 include $260 million to relieve financial strains facing community hospitals hardest hit by the pandemic, $200 million for local and regional public health systems, and $400 million to broaden mental and behavioral health resources throughout the Commonwealth.
Funding for local needs includes $340,000 in supplemental funding for the housing authorities of Abington, Braintree, Holbrook, and Rockland; $600,000 for capital improvements to Quincy’s Thomas Crane Library; and $60,000 for the installation of a fire suppression system at the United First Parish Church in Quincy.
The Quincy delegation also secured $200,000 for Quincy Community Action Programs, Inc. to be used for their food center facility expansion and $200,000 for Quincy Asian Resources, Inc. for their mobile truck food pantry program. Additionally, the delegation procured $600,000 for dredging the channel in Quincy Bay and beach restoration in the Merrymount neighborhood, $400,000 for the Squantum Point Park ferry service, and substantial funding for economic development improvements for local transit stations.
“As we rebuild many of the programs and institutions worn down by COVID, we also need to prepare for a post-pandemic future,” said Senator Keenan. “Thanks to this legislation, with ARPA funding and state surplus revenues we can make investments now that will increase employment and improve housing, local infrastructure, and public-health outcomes for residents of Quincy, the South Shore and throughout Massachusetts.”
“This bill makes meaningful investments that address needs across all communities and sectors of the economy, particularly those disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Speaker of the House Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy). “These significant, one-time investments will help the Massachusetts economy recover from the pandemic quicker and stronger than what would have otherwise been possible. I thank Senate President Spilka and all our colleagues in the Legislature for their work, as well as the public for their input throughout the process. I’d also like to thank Governor Baker for signing the bill and look forward to seeing its impact on our communities.”
“I am proud of the comprehensive bill we passed that tackles many of our immediate needs as a result of the pandemic, shores up our defenses, and works toward recovery,” said State Representative Tackey Chan (D-Quincy). “This one-time allocation of federal funds was used to increase resources for food insecurity, expand workforce development resources, and prioritize mental health services.”
“This landmark legislation represents a much-needed investment in our communities as we work collectively to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said State Representative Bruce Ayers (D-Quincy). “I’m especially pleased to see significant investment in my district and am particularly proud to have secured $400,000 for our continued goal of establishing a full-time ferry service from Marina Bay. The delegation worked together on a number of amendments, and the finances coming to Quincy will be valuable in moving us forward.”
Outside of funding for pandemic recovery, healthcare supports, and local needs, the spending bill also dedicates significant funds for housing and economic development. As Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Housing, Senator Keenan worked closely with the Senate Ways and Means Committee to help frame the housing investments.
A total of $115 million will produce below-market value housing to expand the Commonwealth’s residential supply. Another $115 million will fund new and improve existing rental housing, $150 million will backstop permanent supportive housing, and $150 million will address longstanding infrastructure problems in public housing units.
Economic development investments include $100 million allocated for enhancing workforce training opportunities and $75 million in grant funding for small businesses.