Massachusetts Legislature Passes $1.67 Billion Supplemental Budget

The Massachusetts House of Representatives and state Senate on Thursday passed a $1.67 billion supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22), which among other investments, provides funding for the state’s long-term COVID-19 response, housing and energy assistance for families and extends popular dining and take-out options. In response to the ongoing war in Ukraine, the legislation also provides for the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees in Massachusetts and divests the states pensions fund from Russian assets.

“Massachusetts has avoided the worst of the financial downside from this pandemic and its effects thanks to a history of careful financial planning and consistent investment in those programs and services which support public health and build resiliency in our communities and our Commonwealth,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “The supplemental budget passed today continues this trend by providing targeted funding to healthcare, housing, education, and transportation needs. Importantly, this budget ensures that Massachusetts can continue to offer sanctuary to refugees fleeing from violence abroad even as war continues in Ukraine. I want to thank Chair Rodrigues and his staff, the members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, my colleagues, House Speaker Mariano and my partners in the House for their work to ensure that the needs of Massachusetts residents are met.”

“The supplemental budget passed today is emblematic of the Legislature’s consistent response to the economic needs and priorities of the Commonwealth,” said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano (D -Quincy). “In addition to critical investments in health care, education, transportation infrastructure and housing, this package also includes funding for the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees here in Massachusetts, ensuring that we do our part in the global effort to help those suffering from the war. I want to thank Chair Michlewitz, and all my colleagues in the House, as well as Senate President Spilka and the members of the Senate for the hard work required to get this done.”

This supplemental budget agreement passed this evening responds to the needs of our residents, continues our long-term response to COVID-19 and supports our Commonwealth’s ongoing recovery,” said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “With this agreement, we make meaningful investments in areas like health care, education, and local infrastructure, while divesting state pension funds from Russian assets in response to the Russian war in Ukraine and providing funds to resettle refugees, including Ukrainian refugees. This supplemental spending agreement also provides timely supports for families experiencing housing and energy insecurity and extends popular pandemic-related provisions like outdoor dining. I would like to thank Senate President Spilka for her leadership, my colleagues in the Senate for their support, and our partners in the House for their commitment to meeting the needs of our people as we continue to recover from the long-felt impacts of this pandemic.”

“This spending package will allow the Commonwealth to make crucial investments into areas that need the most immediate attention, including areas such as rental assistance, special education schools, $700 million for COVID related costs such as testing and vaccine awareness,” said Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Chair of the House Committee on Ways & Means (D-Boston).

Responding to COVID-19

To mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and ensure robust preparation in the event of a future variant outbreak, the bill invests $700 million for the state’s COVID-19 response. This funding would ensure the continued no-cost availability of crucial services offered to residents during the pandemic, including on-site testing, vaccinations, and treatment, as well as public health staffing needs resulting from COVID-19.

To further protect families facing housing challenges, the supplemental budget extends through March 2023 several protections for tenants experiencing COVID-19-related financial hardship, including extending the requirement that a court grant a continuance in an eviction case for nonpayment of rent when the tenant has a pending rental assistance application.

The supplemental budget also extends popular pandemic-related provisions including outdoor dining services, and beer, wine and cocktails to-go through April 2023. The legislation also extends COVID-19 related bonuses for members of the Massachusetts National Guard.

Responding to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

The supplemental budget responds to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent violence against Ukrainian civilians. The bill requires the Commonwealth’s Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board to divest any holdings from companies officially sanctioned by the Biden administration or incorporated in Russia. The measure also allocates $10 million for the Office of Immigrants and Refugees to support the resettlement of international evacuees, including Ukrainian evacuees.

Housing and Energy Assistance

The supplemental budget includes several provisions relating to housing stability and support for individuals currently experiencing or near homelessness. The proposal includes $100 million for the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program which provides eligible families with funds that they can use to keep their housing or obtain new housing. The supplemental budget also dedicates $20 million to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides crucial assistance to families facing high utility bills.

The supplemental budget allocates $2.8 million for rates at shelters for homeless individuals and also ensures that down payment assistance funds received from the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency, or the Massachusetts Housing Partnership will not be considered taxable income.

Health Care & Mental Health

The bill allocates $346 million in federal American Rescue Plan funding for Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS) resources to ensure that eligible Medicaid users throughout the Commonwealth are able to receive health care and medical services in their own homes or local communities.  Alongside this investment, the bill also appropriates $55 million in state resources to support reimbursement rates for human and social service providers that have also been doing crucial work during the pandemic. To address the crisis of mental health care, the bill also dedicates $10 million to suicide prevention and intervention services, focused on staffing and other resources at crisis centers, and the establishment of a statewide 988 suicide prevention hotline.

The bill also allocates $24 million of the state’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds specifically for the creation of new behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment beds.


In response to reports of staffing shortages in public schools, the supplemental budget includes a provision authorizing the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education to issue emergency educator licenses until 180 days after the end of the public health emergency. For private special education schools operating under Chapter 766, the budget allocates $140 million to fill immediate staffing needs.

Other funding items of note include:

  • $100 million for a new Winter Road Recovery Assistance Program for cities and towns to repair potholes and roads and bridges worn down by adverse weather conditions.
  • $10 million for Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC)
  • $8.4 million for Department of Children and Families foster family rates
  • $8 million for Early Intervention staff stabilization supports
  • $5 million for state election costs
  • $5 million for the Department of Mental Health to expand clientele housing supports
  • $1.8 million for mental health services for international evacuees resettled in the Commonwealth
  • $1.7 million for state park investments, including water safety initiatives
  • $609,000 for additional staffing to implement the Next Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy legislation, which was passed early in the session
  • $500,000 to expand the capacity of the Commission on the Status of Women

The supplemental budget now moves to the Governor’s desk for further consideration.