Advocacy

It's Time to Ask Your Legislators to Override the Governor's Budget Vetoes!

It's Time to Ask Your Legislators to Override the Governor's Budget Vetoes!
Originally posted July 11, 2016; last updated July 31, 2016:

On Friday, the Governor issued his fiscal year 2017 budget vetoes, which included cutting out the RAFT expansion language and other priority funding/language we have been promoting since last fall. Please help us push the Legislature to take up override votes. In order to overturn a particular veto, 2/3 of the members in both the House and the Senate must vote in favor of that override. Veto overrides must start in the House. As formal legislative sessions will end for this biennial cycle on July 31st, time is short.

Key vetoes of concern:

  • Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT, line item 7004-9316): The Governor maintained the Legislature's $13 million appropriation, but vetoed language that would open access to RAFT to elders, people with disabilities, unaccompanied youth, and households without children under the age of 21. RAFT override fact sheetCoalition's letter from last week to the Governor on the importance of this language; testimonies in support of the RAFT override
  • Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC, line item 4403-2000): The Governor vetoed language in this line item that would have prevented the Department of Transitional Assistance from being able to count Supplemental Security Income when calculating TAFDC benefits for families with one or more members living with a disability. This could lead to over 8,500 families having their TAFDC benefits eliminated or greatly reduced. He also vetoed language that would have increased the TAFDC annual clothing allowance to $250 per eligible child (the Governor replaced that figure with the FY'16-level benefit of $200/child). TAFDC-SSI override fact sheet 
    • Update: Great news! The House and Senate overrode the Governor's veto on July 23rd! This means that the Governor will not be able to move ahead to limit acesss to TAFDC benefits and that the clothing allowance will increase in September. The override also adds back $23.6 million to the line item.
  • Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP, line item 7004-9024): The Governor cut MRVP funding from $85.3 million to $82.9 million.
  • Public Housing Operating Subsidies (line item 7004-9005): The Governor cut public housing operating subsidies from $65 million to $64.5 million.
Its Time to Stand Up for Housing 1

Good news update on Emergency Assistance (EA, line item 7004-0101): The state's budget website has been updated to reflect that the Governor did not veto language that would have required the Administration to provide 90 days advanced notice before implementing eligibilty changes and benefits reductions within this program that provides shelter and support services to families with children experiencing homelessness.

In better news, however, the Governor also submitted multiple supplemental budgets to the Legislature. One supplemental budget, House Bill 4506, is to address anticipated FY'17 budget shortfalls, and includes requests for $26.0 million more to support Emergency Assistance (EA) family shelter and homelessness services (line item 7004-0101), $2.5 million more for HomeBASE (line item 7004-0108), and $1.9 million more for Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children Program benefits (EAEDC, line item 4408-1000).

Another request is to close out FY'16, House Bill 4517, and includes requests for $1 million for the unaccompanied youth homelessness line item (line item 4000-0007), $3.6 million for MRVP (line item 7004-9316), and $1 million for the End Family Homelessness Reserve Fund (line item 1599-0017) .

** Please ask your legislators to support both the override requests and the supplemental budget requests. You can reach your legislators by calling the State House switchboard at 617-722-2000 or find additional contact information here: www.wheredoivotema.com. **