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Pignatelli Secures Funding for Four Nonprofits in Fiscal 2023 Budget
04:17PM / Friday, April 29, 2022
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LENOX, Mass. — State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli has secured $260,000 in earmarks in the House budget for local nonprofits in the 4th Berkshire District. 
The state House on Wednesday passed a fiscal 2023 budget of $49.73 billion. The budget passed the House of Representatives 155-0 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Pignatelli secured $75,000 for Community Access to the Arts, $75,000 for Greenagers Inc., $75,000 for Volunteers in Medicine and $35,000 for the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires. 
"The FY23 budget focuses on investments that will have immediate impacts in communities across the commonwealth, from the Berkshires to Boston and everywhere in between," said Pignatelli in a statement on the budget's passage. "I'm extremely proud to have secured funding for organizations in my district that provide critical resources, programs and services to the residents of the 4th Berkshire District. I look forward to seeing the tremendous work that they do in the next year."
The FY23 House budget includes $912 million to fund early education and care and $70 million in rate increases for subsidized child-care providers, representing a $50 million increase over FY22. It also includes a new initiative funded at $10 million to pay for child care for early educators. 
Following the recommendations issued by the Special Legislative Early Education and Care Economic Review Commission, the budget includes language requiring the Department of Early Education and Care to base reimbursement on enrollment rather than attendance.
MassHealth remains one of the largest drivers of the budget. In FY23, the House is providing $18.40 billion to fully fund its caseload, which has increased as more residents became eligible during the pandemic. The House's FY23 budget reflects this enrollment growth due to the federal extension of the public health emergency, an increase in spending beyond what was included in the governor's budget proposal, while also factoring in the increased Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) reimbursement levels.
It also includes $230 million for Chapter 257 rates for health and human service workers, $40 million to continue higher rate add-ons and ensure a smaller wage cliff between FY22 and FY23 for home health aides and homemakers, and $1 million for the Nursing and Allied Health Workforce Development program. Additional investments include funding for programming such as the Elder Mental Health Outreach Teams, the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative Expansion, nine Elder Supportive Housing Sites, and the SHINE Program. The budget fully funds Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children at $343 million, as well as Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children at $137 million.
For the first time, budget removes barriers to communication services for incarcerated persons and their loved ones. The Department of Correction, sheriffs and the Department of Youth Services must provide phone calls free of charge to persons receiving and persons initiating phone calls and other services such as video or electronic communications, who are currently paying $14.4 million per year to communicate. The newly-created Communications Access Trust Fund includes $20 million in initial funding to cover the cost of providing these services.
The budget also eliminates probation and parole fees to reduce the burden on individuals during their re-entry process. Currently, individuals pay $50 per month for administrative supervised probation fees, $65 per month for probation supervision fees, and $80 per month in parole fees.
The budget also continues the House's focus on environmental and climate protection by investing $349.7 million for environmental services, which include funding increases for state parks, environmental protection, and fisheries and wildlife. Additional measures include promoting electric vehicles and funding for environmental justice and climate adaptation and preparedness.
"This budget builds off the successes of the last few years and prioritizes our residents," said state Rep. Aaron Michlewitz of Boston, chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means.
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