The Massachusetts State Senate approved its $42.8 billion budget for the 2020 fiscal year on May 23.
There are $500,000 in local earmarks secured by Sen. Ed Kennedy to fund several First Middlesex District priorities included in the approved budget. They are:
- $160,000 for the construction of spray pools and splash pads in the city of Lowell.
- $92,400 for an emergency generator at the new Groton Senior Center, which will also serve as an emergency shelter for parts of the community during power outages and bad storms.
- $100,000 for the study and design of a new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) building on Middlesex Community College’s Lowell Campus.
- $25,000 to support the expansion of Coalition for a Better Acre’s STEP (Supported Training Education Program) workforce development program.
- $15,000 for the Lowell Kinetic Sculpture Race to cover costs associated with promotion, marketing, public safety, and expanded programming.
- $42,600 for the redevelopment of a 9-acre publicly owned parcel at the site of the Fitzpatrick School in Pepperell ($25,000) and for enhancements to the Main Street corridor ($17,600).
- $10,000 for the procurement and installation of an Assistive Listening System at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell.
- $55,000 for the extension of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail through Lowell.
In addition to the above local priorities, Kennedy filed amendments, which were adopted by his colleagues, to meet some statewide priorities, including:
- Increasing funding for English Language Learning programs in Gateway Cities from $250,000 to $1 million.
- Increasing funding to the Massachusetts Cultural Council from $16.1 million to $18 million.
Kennedy also co-sponsored more than three dozen amendments filed by his colleagues in a number of priority areas including: providing funding for transportation for people in the Merrimack Valley to access substance abuse treatment; increasing grant funding to Councils on Aging; providing residential assistance for families in transition; providing funding for AFL-CIO workforce development training programs; supporting the Community Preservation Act; funding for Shannon Grants to support anti-violence programs; and funding for financial literacy education for low-income women.
A Conference Committee will now convene to reconcile the differences between the Senate budget and the version passed by the House of Representatives in April. Fiscal 2020 begins on July 1.