Senate Budget Advances With Joyce’s Support
Senate plan increases aid to Joyce’s top priorities: home care for the elderly, childcare, and mental health support

BOSTON – The Senate Committee on Ways and Means, on which Senator Brian A. Joyce sits, today recommended passage of a $33.9 billion balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2014 which closes a $1.2 billion budget gap and makes significant strides in protecting Massachusetts’ vulnerable populations and investing in our future.

“The budget recommended by Ways and Means is balanced, and makes targeted investments to protect our seniors and support our children without overburdening taxpayers,” said Joyce. “By investing in home care for our seniors, early childcare access and mental health support services we are continuing our intergenerational commitments and promoting both economic growth and quality of life.”

The budget provides $11.1 million in new funding for Elder Affairs programs, including the Home Care Program for which Joyce has been a consistent advocate. Joyce was a leading sponsor of the bill that established the Community Choice program to prevent the premature placement of the elderly in nursing homes by providing home care services, saving taxpayers millions and enabling seniors to remain in the comfort of their own homes for as long as possible. This new funding will eliminate waitlists for elder care home services.

The budget also provides $15 million in early childcare access for families currently on the long childcare waitlist. While not eliminating the waitlist completely, the additional funding will reach 2,000 new children and expand the program for the first time since 2009. The program improves school readiness and provides vital work and education support for parents and guardians.

Finally, the budget increases funding for mental health services by $30.3 million, which will provide quality care to millions of Massachusetts residents and expand emergency mental health services. This budget also funds MassHealth at a sufficient level to maintain existing services and to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as providing increased funding for veterans’ services, higher education and economic development initiatives, among others.

“This budget makes a number of targeted investments that will sustain the Commonwealth for years to come, building on innovation and efficiency while maintaining a partnership with our municipal partners and providing services to residents most in need,” said Senator Stephen M. Brewer, Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.