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The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

FY 2021 Budget House Ways & Means Budget

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The House Committee on Ways and Means examines the Governor's Proposal and releases its own recommmendations for the annual budget for deliberation by the House of Representatives. Prior to release of the House Ways and Means Budget, Joint Ways and Means Committee budget hearings are held across the state.

Photo of  Brian S. Dempsey
House Ways and Means Chair

Dear Visitor:

Welcome to the Massachusetts House of Representatives Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Web Site. On this page you will find information and documents related to the House Ways and Means Budget, the full text of all Amendments offered by Representatives to the budget document, and the action taken by the House on those amendments.  You can access this information by clicking here.

Thank you for visiting this page, and please check back often!


Local Aid

The House Committee on Ways and Means budget proposal maintains significant aid to cities and towns across the commonwealth, despite the economic challenges presented by COVID-19. To ensure as much support as possible for the commonwealth’s municipalities, the Committee has proposed matching FY20 levels for the Unrestricted General Government Aid at a sum of $1.129B. The Committee also proposes investing significantly in education aid to cities and towns across the commonwealth. The Committee proposes funding Chapter 70 aid to school districts at $5.285B, a $107.6 increase over the FY20 GAA. Acknowledging the significant costs that districts face, the Committee invests $82.2M for regional school transportation, and increases the Charter School aid funding to $117M, a $2.4M increase over FY20 GAA.

  • Provides $1.129B for UGGA
  • Provides $5.28B for Chapter 70 aid
  • Provides $328M for Circuit Breaker Special Education reimbursement
  • Provides $82.2M for Regional School Transportation reimbursement
  • Provides $117M for Charter School Reimbursement
  • Provides $50M in one-time Supplemental, COVID and Student Support funds

Elementary and Secondary Education

Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in educational achievement, due, in no small part, to the work done by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The House Ways and Means budget continues the funding for key grant programs at the department, while also investing in programs that work to close achievement gaps and provide key services for students statewide, such as mentoring grants, after-school programming and literacy programming.

  • Provides $25.6M for METCO programs
  • Provides $46M for adult basic education services
  • Provides $4.5M for English Language Acquisition programs
  • Provides $6M for school-to-career connecting grants
  • Provides $10.6M for after-school and out-of-school grants
  • Provides $1M for Mentoring Grants

Early Education and Care

The Department of Early Education and Care provides services for the youngest members of our Commonwealth. It also provides subsidized child care services for some of the most vulnerable children, through the child care accounts for children referred by DCF and DTA, as well as low-income families. The Committee is proud to strengthen our commitment to the child care provider workforce with significant investments in the child care accounts as well as investing $20M in a salary rate reserve for providers.

  • Provides $315.8M to fund childcare for children by the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Transitional Assistance
  • Provides $286.7M for childcare for children from income-eligible families in the Commonwealth
  • Provides $20M for a salary reserve to increase rates for center-based early education
  • Providers $10M for a sliding scale fee reserve to support parents receiving child care subsidies
  • Provides $2.5M for early childhood mental health consultation services
  • Provides $10M for professional development opportunities for childcare providers

Higher Education

The Committee recognizes the importance of a quality, attainable degree for Massachusetts students, and is proud to continue our investment in the campuses, as well as funding the state scholarship item at a historic level of $120M. It also creates a new line item for the SUCCESS fund, which provides wraparound support for community college students from vulnerable populations.

  • Provides $560M for the University of Massachusetts system
  • Provides $290M for state universities
  • Provides $313.6M for community colleges
  • Provides $120M for the State Scholarship program
  • Provides $7M for the Community College SUCCESS fund

Energy and Environment

From the Berkshires to Cape Cod, Massachusetts has a diverse landscape of open spaces and natural resources that improve quality of life and support our economy. The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs preserves and protects our land, water, and air for future generations to come with a commitment to clean energy and climate change mitigation in communities across the state. The Office also provides opportunities for outdoor recreation at our parks and beaches while supporting a sustainable food system. The House Committee on Ways and Means budget invests in these invaluable services to ensure the wellbeing of the Commonwealth’s residents today and in the future.

  • Provides $101.5M for the Department of Conservation and Recreation
  • Provides $70.3M for the Department of Environmental Protection
  • Provides $32.3M for the Department of Fish and Game
  • Provides $30M for Emergency Food Assistance

Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development

The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development promotes economic opportunity for residents of the Commonwealth, advances community development initiatives, and fosters job creation and business growth. With Massachusetts’ small businesses particularly hard hit with the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the House Committee on Ways and Means’ fiscal year 2021 budget proposal prioritizes funding for crucial economic support to affected business. This budget invests $55.9M in development and capital grant opportunities as well as job training programs to help support economic activity and stabilize small and local businesses across the Commonwealth.

  • Provides 46.4M for the Economic Recovery Planning and Response
  • Provides $5M for operational support grants for anti-poverty efforts at Community Action Agencies
  • Provides $4M for Small Business Technical Assistance Grants
  • Provides $2.5M for Urban Agenda Economic Development Grants
  • Provides $1.5M for the MassTech Collaborative
  • Provides $1M for the Transformative Development Fund
  • Provides $600K for Microloans
  • Provides $500K for the Big Data Innovation and Workforce Fund

Department of Housing and Community Development

The Department of Housing and Community Development provides affordable housing options and essential financial support to vulnerable families and communities in Massachusetts. In order to help the state’s efforts, the House Committee on Ways and Means budget recommendation expands the capacity of all emergency homeless assistance and prevention programs. The fiscal year 2021 budget includes a $66M increase from last year’s general appropriations budget to ensure that these important programs continue to support and provide safe housing for thousands of individuals and families across the Commonwealth.

  • Provides $179.9M for the Emergency Assistance Family Shelter Program, Also carries forward $1.8M in unspent funds from FY20
  • Provides $125.5M for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), Also carries forward $9.5M in unspent funds from FY20
  • Provides $50M for the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) Program
  • Provides $80M for Public Housing Authorities
  • Provides $56.4M for Homeless Individuals Assistance
  • Provides $25.8M for the HomeBASE Program, Also carries forward $1.9M in unspent funds from FY20
  • Provides $6.2M for the Alternative Voucher Housing Program (AVHP), Also carries forward $1.9M in unspent funds from FY20
  • Provides $5M for Rapid Re-Housing Programs for Homeless Individuals
  • Provides $5M for Down Payment Assistance
  • Provides $4M for Housing Consumer Education Centers
  • Provides $3M for the Service Coordinators Program

Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development’s mission is to help the citizens of the Commonwealth enter and adapt to the labor market by offering workforce training, education, and unemployment benefits. This budget continues to support the Office’s work in assisting individuals with their job search and ensuring that all residents of the Commonwealth are provided with a safe, healthy, and fair working environment.

  • Provides $19.3M for Summer Jobs Program for At-Risk-Youth
  • Provides $4M for MassHire Career Centers
  • Provides $2M for the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership
  • Provides $1.4M for the Massachusetts Service Alliance
  • Provides $1.5M for Demonstration Workforce Development Program

Health and Human Services

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services plays a crucial role in providing residents of the Commonwealth with safety net services. These services, including access to healthcare, food, and temporary assistance, are vital sources of relief for Massachusetts children, families, veterans, seniors, and those with disabilities. The House Committee on Ways and Means FY 2021 budget proposal supports this mission by ensuring investments that protect the needs and safety of our state’s most vulnerable populations.


MassHealth continues to be a vital part of the Commonwealth’s safety net, providing healthcare and long-term care services with the goals of improving the physical, behavioral and social determinants of health, to support quality of life for its members. The House Committee on Ways and Means budget proposal includes $18.34B for MassHealth programmatic spending to support over 1.9M members. This budget proposal invests in services for our most vulnerable populations, who rely on MassHealth coverage during times of economic downturn. These measures will ensure that all those who are eligible can receive coverage during an unprecedented pandemic.

  • Provides $395M for MassHealth Nursing Home Supplemental Rates
  • Provides $300M for one-time rate increases for provider stabilization
  • Provides $62M for MassHealth rate restructuring for nursing facilities
  • Provides $19M for new oral health benefits for adults on MassHealth
  • Provides $2.3M for expanding the Behavioral Health Justice Initiative statewide

Department of Public Health

The Department of Public Health aims to ensure that all people of the Commonwealth remain healthy by promoting wellness, establishing and enforcing health and safety regulations, and addressing social determinants of health. The department strives to identify and eliminate health disparities within the Commonwealth affecting the most vulnerable populations. The House Committee on Ways and Means budget proposal supports this mission by increasing funding to address substance addiction throughout the state and expand current domestic violence prevention efforts.

  • Provides $161.7M for the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services
  • Provides $45.9M for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Program
  • Provides $6M for Pediatric Palliative Care

Department of Mental Health

As the State mental health authority, the Department of Mental Health provides community-based and continuing care inpatient services for approximately 21,000 individuals throughout the Commonwealth. The department serves the severely, persistently mentally ill with the goal of enabling as many individuals to live, work, and participate within their communities. The House Committee on Ways and Means budget continues this effort by restoring reductions to jail diversionary programs and maintaining adolescent campership programs throughout the state.

  • Provides $500M for Adult Mental Health and Support Services
  • Provides $229.6M for Inpatient Facilities and Community-Based Mental Health
  • Provides $94.5M for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

Department of Developmental Services

The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) empowers children and adults with developmental disabilities to become fully engaged members of their communities. The House Committee on Ways and Means budget reflects the Commonwealth’s commitment to supporting both individuals with developmental disabilities and their families to become active members in their communities through day and employment programs, as well as residential and respite services. The Committee’s recommendation fully funds the Turning 22 class, annualizes the costs of the Turning 22 population, and invests in programs to support consumers and their families.

  • Provides $1.29B for Community Residential Services
  • Provides $239.5M for Community Day and Work Programs
  • Provides $77.9M for Respite Family Supports
  • Provides $38.6M for Autism Omnibus

Department of Children and Families

The Department of Children and Families strives to protect the children of the Commonwealth from abuse and neglect by providing family support services, family stabilization services, as well as foster care and adoptive services. For FY 2021, the House Committee on Ways and Means’ proposal continues the trend of increasing support for this critical mission.

Investments over the past few years have enabled the agency to hire more licensed social workers with the goal of reining in new caseload ratios of 15:1. The FY 2021 recommendation builds upon this momentum with an increase of $15.5M in overall departmental funding compared to the prior fiscal year. This funding is necessary to annualize and increase staffing levels and programs designed to produce strong families and keep children safe.

  • Provides $265.3M for Social Workers for Case Management
  • Provides $306.4M for Services for Children and Families
  • Provides $293.4M for Congregate Care Services
  • Provides $114.6M for Clinical Support Services and Operations

Department of Transitional Assistance

The Department of Transitional Assistance works to meet the basic needs and improve the quality of life for low-income residents of the Commonwealth. Assistance programs administered by the department are a critical step toward self-sufficiency and independence for many in Massachusetts. The House Committee on Ways and Means remains committed to protecting these vital services for the Commonwealth’s most economically disadvantaged populations.

The Committee expands eligibility of the largest state run programs on behalf of the Commonwealth’s underserved population. In addition, the House Ways and Means budget proposal allocates funds that will increase the purchasing power of SNAP recipients while also having the added benefit of stimulating the economy by allocating funds to be spent specifically on the state’s local retail and farming industries.

  • Provides $210.4M for State Supplemental Security Income
  • Provides $241M for the Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children
  • Provides $13M for the Healthy Incentives Program
  • Provides $2.5M for ROCA Dual Generation Supports for High Risk Young Parents

Department of Youth Services

The Department of Youth Services is charged with rehabilitating youthful offenders through a continuum model of services and supervision. The House Committee on Ways and Means budget proposal highlights the importance of instilling positive change through education and skill development for the youths in the Department’s care. The Department will continue to operate effective programs by partnering with all available organizations to reduce recidivism, promote positive change, and protect the public.

  • Provides $112.4M for Residential Services for Committed Population
  • Provides $27.4M for Residential Services for Detained Population
  • Provides $24.3M for the Non-Residential Services for Committed Population

Elder Affairs

The Department of Elder Affairs provides services that promote independence and sustain a high quality of life for elders with support to their families and caregivers. These services range from community-based services and supports as well as nutrition programs, protective services, and housing, which are provided through a network of Aging Service Access Points and Councils on Aging Across the state. The House Committee on Ways and Means funding level of $596M ensure these important services continue while recognizing the unprecedented continued growth in the elder population and desire to age in the community.

  • Provides $17.4M for a 10% rate increase for direct care staff
  • Provides $7.8M for Supportive Senior Housing
  • Provides $2.7M for Congregate Housing Provides $17M for Grants to Councils on Aging
  • Provides $1M for the Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone (SHINE) program
  • Provides $1M for the Geriatric Mental Health Services Program

Veterans’ Services

The Department of Veterans’ Services provides veterans with access to programs and services throughout the Commonwealth. The Department provides educational opportunities, outreach centers, service benefits, as well as personal care services through the Soldiers’ Homes located in Chelsea and Holyoke.

  • Provides $72.1M for Veterans’ Benefit Payments
  • Provides $55.6M for the Soldiers’ Homes in Chelsea and Holyoke
  • Provides $7M for Veterans’ Outreach Centers
  • Provides $3.6M for assistance to homeless veterans


The Judiciary is responsible for upholding the Massachusetts General Laws as well as laws put in place by the Constitution of the United States. The House Committee on Ways and Means budget aims to ensure that every citizen has equal access to justice through the court system. The Committee’s proposal continues to endorse this mission by including a $5M increase over the FY20 GAA appropriation to fund civil legal aid programs that provide vital support for the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable individuals and their families, support which is particularly critical due to the impacts of COVID-19.

  • Provides $762.3M for the Trial Court
  • Provides $256.2M for the Committee for Public Counsel Services
  • Provides $146.5M for the District Attorneys’ Offices of the Commonwealth
  • Provides $29M for Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation
  • Provides $6.5M for Community Based Re-entry Programs, Also carries forward $3.1M in unspent funds from FY20

Public Safety and Security

The House Committee of Ways and Means’ budget recommendation provides funding for the Executive Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security and the fourteen sheriff’s departments, allowing the Commonwealth to continue to develop and implement programming that ensures the safety and security of residents. The FY 2021 budget recommendation provides targeted increases to carry on with this important endeavor. Moreover, this budget incorporates investments related to criminal justice reform that impact an array of state functions, from the development of core infrastructure and technology to the provision of vital clinical care and reentry services. Services provided by the agencies of Public Safety include, but are not limited to: enforcing statewide laws, protecting the state against fire and other emergency situations, and all other correctional related programs.

  • Provides $746M for the Department of Correction
  • Provides $617M for the Commonwealth’s 14 sheriffs’ offices
  • Provides $449M for the Department of State Police including $5.7M for a new State Police class
  • Provides $44M for the Executive Office of Public Safety
  • Provides $30M for the Department of Fire Services/span>


The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) works to provide a safe and reliable transportation network across the Commonwealth. Maintaining infrastructure from roads to rails, MassDOT supports a growing economy and improves the quality of life for residents while investing in innovative solutions to meet the transportation needs of both today and tomorrow. The House Committee on Ways and Means budget supports the complex demands of our dynamic transportation network. The Committee’s recommendation enables the Department, the MBTA and the Regional Transit Authorities to meet the increasing demand for public transportation and actively maintain core services.

  • Provides $336M for MassDOT, Includes $4.7M for RMV/MRB to support transportation safety improvements (RMV/MRB)
  • Provides $127M for the MBTA
  • Provides $90.5M for the Regional Transit Authorities, Includes $3.5M for RTA merit based grant program

Technology Services and Security

The Executive Office of Technological Services and Security offers responsive digital services and productivity tools to more than 40,000 state employees. They also provide digital services and tools that enable taxpayers, motorists, businesses, visitors, families, and other citizens to do business with the Commonwealth in a way that makes every interaction with government easier, faster, and more secure.

  • Provides $41.6M for Core Technological Services and Security