L’Italien, Dempsey Cheer Local Benefits of $97 Million in Veto Overrides

Then-U.S. Senator John F. Kerry greets Barbara L'Italien and Rep. Brian S. Dempsey at a prior breakfast.

Former U.S. Senator John F. Kerry greets Barbara L'Italien and Rep. Brian S. Dempsey during a meeting of the Haverhill Democratic City Committee.

The Massachusetts legislature this week overrode almost 90 gubernatorial vetoes and restored roughly $97 million in spending to the state’s $38.1 billion budget, according to information provided Friday by Sen. Barbara L’Italien.

Besides providing more money for UMass Lowell’s planned Haverhill operation and local cultural councils, as WHAV reported earlier, the overrides bring $4.75 million to Northern Essex and other community colleges to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. Haverhill will also share in $1.2 million for the Gateway Cities English Language Learners program and $2.2 million for substance abuse treatment programs.

“These veto overrides will enhance support for Massachusetts residents and municipalities, and ensure that local programs, education funding and economic development initiatives are well funded by the legislature,” said L’Italien, who represents Andover, Lawrence, Tewksbury and Dracut.

Both the House and Senate are formally on recess during August, with September plans to consider public records reform, a budget bill to close out the fiscal year that ended June 30 and a bill to help clear titles on foreclosed properties.

The new state budget advances Massachusetts’ standing as the national leader in education for students of all ages, L’Italien said. Recognizing the importance of providing statewide access to full-day kindergarten, the legislature overrode Gov. Charles D. Baker’s cut to kindergarten expansion grants, reaffirming its support with $18.6 million.

Leadership Insists Budget is Balanced

“I believe that these overrides are appropriate and responsible,” said Haverhill state Rep. Brian S. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means. “They strike the right balance between maintaining fiscal responsibility and protecting the funding for the programs and services that our constituents need. These overrides will restore necessary funding for substance abuse prevention, education, housing services and countless other priorities of communities across the commonwealth.”

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said, “With this budget the legislature extends its track record of making responsible and innovative investments that will continue to move Massachusetts forward.”

“We sent the governor a balanced budget and he chose to reduce or eliminate funding across important areas of state government,” said Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg (D-Amherst) “Restoring the cuts to education, substance abuse, homelessness and other vital programs provides strategic investments in our state’s future.”

Other programs receiving additional money include:

  • MassCAN: $1.7 million to establish widespread, progressive computer science curriculum in public school through a public-private match program.
  • Talent pipeline: $1.5 million to encourage young innovators to get a head start on their futures by matching stipends for interns at innovation start-ups, and to provide mentoring opportunities for new entrepreneurs.
  • Mass Tech Collaborative: $750,000 for the Mass Tech Collaborative Tech and Innovation Entrepreneurship program to establish entrepreneur and startup mentoring.
  • Travel and tourism: $5.17 million more to the Office of Travel and Tourism and $2.37 million to the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
  • Prostate cancer awareness and education: $500,000.
  • Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program: $3 million more for a total of $82.9 million to support 900 to 1,050 new vouchers for families at risk of homelessness.
  • Early education and care waiting list: $2 million more for a total of $12 million to take 2,000 children off the waiting list for these critical services.