Budget Conference Report Released:
Modest Investment in Employment Blueprint
$3 Million provided for Blueprint, with sustained funding for sheltered workshop settings
By the close of business Monday, the House is expected to review and likely vote on the late Sunday evening release of the state's $36.5 million FY 15 Budget. Understanding every line item would likely require a course in speed reading and extraordinary mathematical skills, however members have had weeks to understand and review the products that emerged from their respective Chamber; and likely multiple advocacy organizations like ADDP and The Arc of Massachusetts will issue their respective analysis. Senate and House members likely will look for more extensive discussion with each of the Ways and Means Chairs, (Senator Steve Brewer, above and Representative Brian Dempsey) during upcoming floor action.
At first glance, here is a preliminary analysis of ADDP priorities:
The Employment Blueprint aimed at moving people from sheltered workshops to more inclusive community based day supports or supported employment received a total of $3 million in additional monies. In a pilot project line item in the DDS budget, there is a set aside of $1 million for a pilot project to support this effort; while also appearing in the Administration and Finance Budget there is a $2 million Reserve Fund for the same effort. Though this amount falls $2.5 million below the Governor's recommendation, it will help get some movement started, though not the original $11.5 million sought by ADDP/The Arc and DDS. Additionally, House language included by Chairman Brian Dempsey to slow or stop the closure of sheltered workshops was preserved in the final conference report.
Family Support and Respite Service supporters were successful in the final conference report with sustaining the House and Governor's recommendation for $54.9 million.
Turning 22 Services were funded at $6.5 million.
Human Service Salary Reserve was funded at $8 million.
The Chapter 257 Reserve Account, recommended by the Governor at $25 million was funded at $15 million.
The full conference committee report can be found by clicking here.