FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Mallory Strain
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BOSTON, MA -- On Wednesday, Representative Andy X. Vargas of Haverhill joined his colleagues the Massachusetts House of Representatives in passing the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget. This robust budget does not raise taxes, and includes monumental investments in childcare, housing, workforce development, and education. Included in this package is a one-year extension of no-cost universal school meals spearheaded by Representative Vargas. The House FY’23 budget increases investments in communities and sectors most acutely impacted by the pandemic.
This budget also makes critical changes in state law including banning child marriage, expanding access to treatment for minors with HIV, creating a “Common App” for SNAP and MassHealth and other needs-based benefits.
The budget includes Vargas led amendments, providing Haverhill with:
· $100,000 for Northern Essex Community College’s Haverhill College Promise Program
· $50,000 for the Haverhill YMCA to assist them with a Capital Feasibility Study for finding a new facility.
· $50,000 for MakeIT Haverhill to help expand their efforts to provide free workforce development opportunities, skills training, digital literacy and ESL courses to Haverhill residents.
· $50,000 for the Gale Park Restoration Project. The project seeks to restore the park’s WWI monument, replace the damaged viewing plaza, restore the name plates on the Spanish American war monument, build ADA compliant walkways in the park, and replace the park’s broken water fountain.
· $30,000 for the Veterans Alliance of Greater Haverhill to support their efforts to provide services to veterans in the city of Haverhill.
· $30,000 for the Haverhill Boys & Girls Club Capital Campaign for a new facility.
“This budget prioritizes investments in the most acutely impacted parts of the state, including Haverhill. As a result of this budget, Haverhill Public Schools will receive an $8.9 million increase in funding, Haverhill organizations will be better supported, and core issues in the city such as housing, workforce development, and early education & care are addressed.” - Representative Andy X. Vargas (D-Haverhill.)
"We are so grateful for the continued support of Representative Vargas and more specifically for the integral role he played in facilitating the $50,000 funding for a Capital Feasibility Study to explore the possibility of a much-needed new YMCA facility in Haverhill. Our Y serves more than 4,000 members and program participants, creating a welcoming, safe, and inclusive environment aimed at keeping adults, families, and children active, engaged and connected. Our health and wellness, camp, and childcare programs are a critical resource to the Haverhill community and this feasibility study will further show the importance of investing in a new state-of-the-art Y facility that the people of Haverhill so deserve." -Tracy Fuller, Regional Executive Director, Haverhill YMCA
“This funding will make a huge difference in our campaign to restore Haverhill’s Gale Park, a gateway park in a Gateway City. We are beyond grateful to Andy and all our state legislators for their support.” - Kathy Fitts, Co-Chair of the Gale Park Association
“I am tremendously grateful to Representatives Vargas, Campbell, Mirra, and Minicucci for their support of this funding, which will help ensure many more graduates of Haverhill High School’s Early College Program complete their associate degrees at Northern Essex Community College and are ready for in-demand jobs in the Merrimack Valley, or to continue their education. This is an important investment in our future.” -Lane Glenn, President of Northern Essex Community College
“The recent earmark secured by Rep. Vargas will help improve our efforts in enhancing our program offerings to over 200 youth in the Haverhill Community. We thank him & his team for their commitment to helping build great futures.” -Javi Bristol, Executive Director, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Haverhill
“I would like to thank Rep. Vargas for his commitment to Haverhill’s Veterans. When I founded the Alliance in 2017 Andy was a City Councilor and an active supporter of the creation of this organization. His yearly support and commitment is greatly appreciated!” - Mike McGonagle, Veterans Alliance of Greater Haverhill
We are thrilled to learn about the $50,000 investment in MakeIt Haverhill. Thank you to Representative Vargas and others for recognizing the value of MIH's workforce development, digital literacy and educational programming and initiatives. MIH continues to deliver positive outcomes for hundreds of community members -- a true game changer for the entire Haverhill community. -Kerri Perry, CEO, Community Action Inc.
LOCAL AID AND SCHOOL FUNDING:
Haverhill is set to receive $73,906,310 in Chapter 70 funding , an increase of $8,923,874 from the FY’22 budget. This increase was made possible by the Student Opportunity Act going into effect which changed the Chapter 70 formula to ensure low-income districts receive equitable funding. Haverhill will also receive $11,093,405 in unrestricted Local Aid, an increase of $292,647 from the FY’22 budget.
EARLY EDUCATION AND CHILDCARE:
The House budget passed $70 million to provide wage increases for childcare providers across the Commonwealth, $16.5 million for Head Start Grants, $15.5 million for childcare resource and referral agencies, and a series of other investments in navigation support for families, childhood mental health grants, and higher education provider opportunities. These investments were recommended by the Commission on Early Education and Childcare, where Representative Vargas served as the Vice-Chair.
The House Budget includes $150 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program, $140 Million for the RAFT program, $218 million for family shelters, $100 million for programming for homeless individuals, and $92 million for Housing Authorities, and $59.2 million for Home BASE.