Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Updates

We recently passed the Fiscal Year 2022 budget in the House of Representatives. After several long days of debate, an additional $300,000 was secured for important local programs on the Cape and Islands that support education, health access, and the environment in our district.

This includes $100,000 for the Falmouth Education Foundation. It has been such a tough year for teachers and school children, who have been trying to improve learning while navigating pandemic protocols and digital access, and this funding will help our educators close learning gaps. We negotiated an additional $50,000 for Martha’s Vineyard Community Services to help fund translation services that break down barriers to accessing care for the island’s immigrant population. Finally, it’s not a budget without supporting shellfish across the Cape and Islands, and we earmarked $150,000 for propagation.

In a year plagued by disruption, we produced a strong budget, including $5.5 Billion for the Student Opportunity Act, over $43 million for food assistance, and a first ever $10 million investment in training local residents to work in the offshore wind industry. We’re not done; once the guidelines for federal funding are released from Washington, more funding will go to those most impacted by COVID-19.

On top of funding for the Cape & Islands, the FY22 budget includes a wide array of investments to support education, services for vulnerable populations, and workforce and economic development.

Getting shots in arms

Getting my first shot earlier this month!

While the Cape has been on a role with vaccine distribution, in early April, island residents faced daunting financial and geographic barriers to accessing vaccines from the federal pharmacy program and state mass vaccination sites. As the federal government shifted vaccine supply to pharmacies, we worked to ensure that the state provide equitable distribution to the islands which do not have a CVS or Walgreens.

Julian Cyr and I sent a letter to the Command Center urging increased supply in light of these barriers and the changing federal rollout. The Administration has stepped up supplying more shots to Nantucket and, through the work of Island Health Care, the Vineyard has seen a huge influx of vaccines from the HERSA program.

Reviving our tourism industry

This pandemic hit our arts and service industry hard. As Vice Chair of the Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Culture, we’ve been holding hearings to listen to concerns and proposals to get the industry back. Thanks to the leadership of Chair Fiola and House Ways and Means Chair Michlewitz, we funded the Mass Cultural Council at $22 million — the highest amount in a decade — and added a new $5 million fund to help revive tourism.

Supporting our workers & businesses

Our workers & businesses have struggled over the past year, and it’s important that the legislature take steps to help them recover. This March, I voted for H.90, a bill that will provide more relief & help protect our frontline workers while freezing unemployment rates to prevent them from bankrupting small businesses.

Out & about…actually just around the house

Speaking with the League of Women Voters about legislative efforts to expand voting rights and make our system more democratic. We must make universal vote-by-mail and expanded early voting permanent in MA.
Discussing actions we’re taking at the state level to address the climate crisis during Resilient Nantucket’s panel on coastal adaptation.
Speaking with Boston 25 news about the housing crisis on the Cape & Islands, and a bill I proposed to place a 2% fee on multi-million dollar homes to fund affordable housing.
Joining a panel of experts to discuss the future of offshore wind in Massachusetts and the bill I proposed this year to support a sustainable build out of the industry.
I spoke with the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators about the recent report the MA Ocean Acidification Commission released in order to address the ocean acidification crisis.

State Representative for Falmouth, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket & Gosnold