Boston, MA — After two days of lengthy debate Representative Miceli and the House of Representatives overrode numerous line item vetoes sent back by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, resulting in a final budget for Massachusetts for the fiscal year 2016. In addition to the discussion of budget-related veto overrides, the House of Representatives also lively debated a number of other bills, including the authorizations of a sales tax holiday and support for full-day kindergarten grants in communities pursuing such programs. Both bills, despite light opposition and debate, were approved by the both the House and the Senate chambers. The sales tax holiday is slated for the weekend of August 15th and 16th, allowing consumers to exempt themselves for sales tax on most purchases under $2,500, following approval by the Governor.
“I am pleased with the results of this budget, both with respect to our two communities as well as the Commonwealth” said Representative Miceli upon its passing. “We worked very hard to override the Governor’s vetoes to ensure that the budget was balanced without cutting local programs, such as the special needs program in Tewksbury known as Camp Pohelo or the Wilmington High School Wildcat Service Program, which allows students to volunteer in their local community. These programs are critical to the well-being of our respective towns, and I am pleased to have been able to obtain financial support in this budget to ensure their continued success. I am also pleased that I was able to vote in favor a sales tax holiday to support our local businesses, and to back the Kindergarten Grant so that we may better educate our youth and maintain our educational advantage here in Massachusetts. I would like to thank my colleagues, Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means Bryan Dempsey, and Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo for their assistance as well in supporting me on the overrides to benefit our two towns.”
Line items that were overrode and directly impact Tewksbury and Wilmington include $20,000 to the Camp Pohelo Project, $25,000 to the Wilmington Wildcat Community Service Program, and $90,000 to the Tewksbury Fire Department for equipment upgrades, a line-item initially filed by Senator Barbara L’Italien and carried in the House of Representatives by Representative Miceli. Tewksbury is also set to receive $12,000 towards establishing a Best Buddies program, an appropriation from Representative Miceli that had not been vetoed by Governor Baker. Another override championed by Representative Miceli and passed through the House included precise wording that would guarantee funding restored to the Tewksbury State Hospital would be expended on the care of patients currently under treatment, rather than other potential projects. Under previous versions of proposed budgets the hospital was placed at risk of losing significant funding across multiple accounts totaling over 3 million dollars. These cuts were projected to place the hospital in risk of possible closure of a ward specializing in the treatment of elderly patients with advanced issues, including Alzheimer’s, which would have resulted in the displacement of patients to other facilities or possible discharge. Due to earlier efforts by Representative Miceli the funding was restored, ensuring no such actions would take place. The budget also reflected increased financial support for local governments with an increase in $35 million dollars to unrestricted general aid, an increase of $25 dollars per pupil to schools through the Chapter 70 General Education fund, and an additional overridden $17.5 million restored by unanimous vote to the state-wide kindergarten expansion fund.
(NOTE: The above press release was submitted by State Representative Jim Miceli’s Office.)
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