Supplemental Budget Responds to Impacts of COVID-19

This article originally appeared in the Bay State Banner

BOSTON — Last week the Massachusetts State Senate voted on several key funding bills in response to the impacts of the Novel Coronavirus in Massachusetts. From summer enrichment programs, closing the information technology gap, childcare needs, frontline workers protections, and public health, an equitable recovery from COVID-19 had been the focus of a recent listening session held by Sen. Nick Collins and Rep. Chynah Tyler. The community feedback drove the prioritization of the following investments totaling $1.25m for:

  • Broadband internet access for Boston Public Schools families to support distance learning
  • An IT Equity Fund administered in coordination with the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts prioritizing minority-owned and disadvantaged businesses who have not received federal aid or PPP
  • Boston Public Health Commission for violence prevention, intervention, recovery, and public health programming in Boston
  • Out-of-school academic enrichment programming in school districts disproportionately impacted by COVID-19
  • Enhanced data storage for the Suffolk County District Attorney to perform more data-driven, evidence based prosecution

“This funding will directly benefit those most impacted as we continue to face issues around equity, public health, access to resources, and disproportionate outcomes of COVID-19 in our communities,” said Senator Nick Collins. “After hearing from countless residents, nonprofits, community leaders and advocates, it was clear that the main areas of need were in youth programming, violence prevention, public health, and small business supports, and I am proud that these bills reflect those priorities, and the values of our communities.”

The legislation also included a provision making Juneteenth a state holiday in recognition and honor of the end of slavery. Other funding items included:

  • $350 million for PPE for the states frontline workers
  • $36 million for emergency child care providers
  • $45 million to support subsidized child care
  • $25 million for early education

The bills will now be conferenced with the House of Representatives before moving to the Governor for his approval.