House Passes Balanced Budget with Key Investments in Haverhill
Representative Andy X.Vargas secured key investments for Haverhill in the balanced House budget finalized last night. The Fiscal Year 2020 budget funds vital programs and services across the Commonwealth. Funded at $42.7 billion, the House budget makes major investments in education, housing, substance use disorder services, nursing homes and other areas.
“Thanks to the hard work of Speaker DeLeo, Chair Michlewitz, Vice-Chair Garlick, and the entire Ways and Means committee and staff, we were able to develop a budget that we can all be proud of,” said Representative Vargas.
The budget includes Vargas amendments providing Haverhill with:
$250,000 towards payment of the Hale Hospital Debt. Haverhill was home to the last municipally owned hospital in the Commonwealth, which was sold in 2001. The City is still paying off debt incurred during the ownership of Hale Hospital. The state funding will take some of this financial burden away from the City.
$65,000 towards emergency shelter services at Emmaus House. Recognizing the severity of the housing crisis, “this funding for Emmaus will help us provide support to families and individuals seeking long term jobs and housing stability. Emmaus plays a pivotal role in our housing crisis and I’m proud to support them,” said Rep. Vargas.
$25,000 for the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce
$25,000 for the Mt. Washington based group the Power of Self Education (POSE)
“I'm grateful for the Haverhill delegation's continued support and unified advocacy— this is a team effort,” said Rep. Vargas.
The sophomore representative also successfully co-sponsored state-wide amendments. The Emerging Adults Justice Grant Program, filed by Representative Tucker of Salem, will allow nonprofits to provide education, workforce readiness, and life skills to adults 18-25 leaving correctional facilities. These non-profits will be required to report on outcomes and recidivism rates for participants.
“This grant program came under recommendation of the Emerging Adult Task Force and was endorsed by the Mass. Sherriff’s Association, Chiefs of Police, and a variety of violence-prevention organizations so I was happy to support it and see it included in the budget,” added Vargas.
The Haverhill Representative also successfully supported the Transitional Youth Early Intervention Probation Program filed by Representative Campbell of Methuen. The program will provide early intervention support services to young adults on probation who are at a high risk of reoffending.
“Keeping our community safe and providing real alternatives and opportunities for youth are major priorities that I will continue advocating for. Not only is it the just thing to do, but it saves us money in the long run when we support youth early on,” said Rep. Vargas.
Haverhill will see additional benefits for its nursing homes and the Merrimack Valley Transit Authority (MVRTA) as part of amendments that Vargas also advocated for. The budget invests an additional $35 million increase for nursing home supplemental rates which will benefit nursing homes in Haverhill. Similarly, Regional Transit Authorities received an addition $1 million which will assist the MVRTA.