Fall River State Representatives Carole Fiola, Paul Schmid and Alan Silvia joined their colleagues from the Massachusetts House of Representatives this week in passing a $40.4 billion FY18 budget which represents a commitment to fiscal responsibility. The spending bill protects vulnerable residents through investments in early education and care (EEC), local aid, substance addiction initiatives, homelessness programs, and funding to help individuals with developmental disabilities.
The FY18 budget makes unprecedented investments to improve Massachusetts’ early education and care system, with a focus on supporting the EEC workforce and providing access to high-quality learning opportunities to ensure children are better prepared for academic success. Fall River was apportioned $112,435,190 for Chapter 70 education funding along with $1,859,851.86 for Chapter 90 transportation funding for capital improvement projects for highway construction, preservation and improvement projects that create or extend the life of capital facilities.
“I am proud to have voted with my colleagues for an increase in Chapter 70 funds, this being one of the largest increases in the past several years and once again will provide significant funding for schools and students,” said State Representative Carole Fiola. “As the lead sponsor to increase funding for Family Planning for the Commonwealth, $5,751,509 will be allotted for comprehensive family planning services, including HIV counseling and testing, community-based health education and outreach services provided by agencies certified as comprehensive family planning agencies.
The local amendments I sponsored will allocate $50,000 to be used for a public safety opioid overdose follow-up program in the city of Fall River, $50,000 to be expended for the restoration of the Fall River Veterans Center, and $50,000 for AHA! Art, History & Architecture in the city of Fall River to establish and enhance outreach and educational programs to benefit financially disadvantaged children in the greater Fall River area. To have the support of the House leadership on these projects is significant and I want to thank them and all my colleagues.”
“Crafting a balanced budget certainly has its challenges and I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues in the House of Representatives to create a budget plan that prioritizes our communities with increases in local aid and education funding,” said Representative Paul Schmid. “Our budget reflects that investing in our public safety and environment remain to a priority in the eyes of the Legislature. I was proud to sponsor an amendment that will allocate $37M to help care for our state parks and recreation, including our favorite properties right here in Fall River and Westport. I thank my colleagues in the Fall River and South Coast delegation for their coordination and commitment to working together to put Fall River first and ensure the City’s priorities are well represented.”
Representative Alan Silvia filed Amendment #309 to H3600 Veterans Educational Service Center and Bristol Community College requested $100,000 to be made available for the operation of the Veteran Educational Service Center located at BCC. “We were able to secure, increased local aid and Chapter 70 monies, “said State Representative Alan Silvia.” Also as part of these amendments $100,000 was secured for the BCC. The Veterans Educational Center will assist veterans in navigating the process of beginning school, while providing enormous educational and campus benefits. This will be a place where veterans can speak to other veterans. I would like to thank the Fall River delegation and those who cosponsored and supported this important amendment. Because of our collective hard work, veterans will be able to come home to a community that supports them in their return from service and advances their educational goals.
The budget will now go to the Senate for its consideration.