Sen. Lesser Votes to Send Legislature's Balanced Budget, Including Historic Investments in Local Schools, to the Governor

Budget Includes Sen. Lesser’s Amendments to Finance the Naloxone Bulk Purchase Trust Fund, Boys and Girls Clubs, and the Non-profit Security Grant Program

BOSTON — Senator Eric P. Lesser voted with the Massachusetts State Senate today to send the Legislature’s budget to the Governor’s desk. It includes a dramatic increase in school funding under Chapter 70, bringing millions more dollars to local schools; fully funds regional transit authorities such as the PVTA; and empowers the Secretary of Health and Human Services to begin negotiating rebate agreements with manufacturers of pharmaceutical drugs in an effort to lower drug prices.

“This is a strong budget that invests more money in our local schools than we have seen in decades. In addition, it funds critical programs for Western Mass such as the Naloxone Bulk Purchase Trust Fund, the pilot program for vocational-technical school partnerships, and community organizations like our Boys and Girls Clubs,” said Sen. Lesser.

The budget sent to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk includes a number of amendments for which Sen. Lesser has long been an advocate:

  • increased funding to the state’s Boys and Girls Clubs, to the requested $2.2 million, supporting Clubs in Chicopee, Ludlow, Springfield and other cities and towns across Massachusetts.

  • financing the Naloxone Bulk Purchase Trust Fund, established in 2015, which now allows cities, towns and nonprofit organizations to pool their resources and buy doses of the overdose-reversal drug Narcan in bulk, reducing the price. The budget currently includes $500,000 for this program. Although the latest statistics from the state Department of Public Health indicate that statewide deaths from opioid overdose declined, recent reporting showed that opioid overdose deaths nearly doubled in Springfield and continued to increase in Chicopee and Holyoke over the last year.

  • supporting a two-year-old program to provide security grants to non-profits at risk of terror attack. As a result of the program, synagogues, mosques, community centers and other organizations can apply for funding to upgrade their security measures. 

  • providing a record $20 million for the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program, which is responsible for one-fourth of the food that is distributed by the Food Bank of Western Mass, and provides fresh food grown at our local farms across the state, including the Pioneer Valley Growers Association.

Under the new funding formula for Chapter 70, school districts in Sen. Lesser’s district will also see increases in K-12 education support:

  • Chicopee will receive $68,822,698 in state school funding, an increase of $4,987,882 over FY2019.

  • Longmeadow will receive $5,669,282, an increase of $409,617 over FY2019.

  • Springfield will receive $370,723,826, an increase of $25,276,561 over FY2019.

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Eric Lesser