State Rep. Harold P. Naughton, Jr. joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives yesterday to pass the FY’15 budget. The approximate $36.2 billion House budget includes increased funding for items related, but not limited to, public safety, local aid, and education. The budget also puts additional resources into the Commonwealth’s Rainy Day fund.
“I am proud of the efforts my colleagues and I put forth to produce a financially responsible budget,” said Representative Naughton. “This budget reaffirms our commitment to the continued growth of programs and agencies across the Commonwealth. I am confident that the 12th Worcester District will benefit significantly from the allocated funding outlined in my passed amendments. Additionally, the increased resources provided to various public safety initiatives will undoubtedly raise the level of security for residents both in the district and throughout the Commonwealth.”
Representative Naughton was successful in advocating for the following budget items important to the 12th Worcester District:
- $100,000 for the design, engineering, and renovation of the Lancaster Prescott Building.
- $50,000 for the renovation of the electrical system of the Old Church in Berlin.
- $50,000 for a study to be commissioned for the prospect of a recreational park along the Nashua River in the town of Clinton.
- $35,000 to the Clinton Housing Authority for the renovation of the Presentation Apartments and the Clinton Senior Center.
- An additional $25,000 to the Town of Boylston for hosting the Municipal Police Training facility.
The funding is in addition to Representative Naughton’s successful efforts to secure state funding for the operation of the Clinton sewage treatment plan for the twentieth year in a row. The funding serves as historic recognition of the Town of Clinton’s contribution of 40% of its land for the building of the Wachusett Dam and Reservoir.
In his capacity as House Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security and in accordance with the Legislature’s commitment to bolstering the State’s safety and security, the FY’15 budget includes increased funding for programs relevant to public safety including:
- $1.8 million to municipal police training.
- Increased funding for critical incident stress management services.
- $100,000 allocated for the American Red Cross of Massachusetts.
- Increased funding for programs for incarcerated mothers.
- $2.2 million appropriated for municipalities hosting Department of Correction facilities.
- $6 million in funding for the Shannon Grant, a program aimed at eliminating gangs.
- $1.2 million allocated to the S.A.F.E. program, a state initiative that provides resources to local fire departments to conduct fire and life safety education programs in grades K-12.
The FY’15 House budget also includes additional funding to items relevant to education. Representative Naughton voted to raise the level of Chapter 70 funding by $99.5 million compared to the FY’14 funding. Chapter 70 is the Commonwealth's school funding statute. The program seeks to ensure adequate and equitable school funding for all Massachusetts public pupils. Increasing the Chapter 70 funding will ensure that state aid will keep school districts at foundation levels of spending. Other areas of education funding included that Special Education Circuit Breaker program, which reimburses local school districts for a portion of their costs for educating severely high-needs special education students. This year, the House Budget increased the Circuit Breaker program by $5 million. In addition the budget appropriates nearly $10 million for state aid to Regional Public Libraries.
The Senate will debate their version of the budget in May.
Submitted by the office of state Rep. Harold Naughton.