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FY 20 Senate Budget

The FY20 Senate Budget is scheduled to be debated from May 21-23. The Senate budget process begins after the Governor and House of Representatives release their budget proposals. The Senate's process starts with the Senate Ways and Means Committee, followed by amendments and debate, and finally ratification of the Senate Budget.

The final Senate Budget is sent to a Conference Committee, to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate proposals. The Conference Committee reports a final compromise bill to the House and Senate for a final vote of acceptance in each branch. The Governor then has 10 days to review the budget and take action to either approve or veto. 

This page features updates on the Senate Budget process. For details on other parts of the budget process or to explore the budget itself, head to the MA Legislature website.

Step #1:

Senate Ways & Means Budget Proposal

The Senate Ways and Means (SWM) budget provides the base Senate budget onto which we add amendments. The SWM Budget included several of my top funding priorities. These included:

  • K-12 Education (“Chapter 70”) Aid: $138 million in new funding to begin implementation of all 4 financial recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission--including the full “100% weighting” for low-income students in the Commonwealth’s most impoverished districts.

  • Substance Abuse Treatment: Provides $150.2M for the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services for treatment and intervention services, including $3.5M to open five new recovery centers around the state.

  • Family Resource Centers: Provides $17 million, almost $2 million more than last year. The program provides one of the few means by which families in crisis can voluntarily receive services to prevent neglect of their children before it happens. 

  • Adult Basic Education: $38 million to improve teacher compensation and reduce waitlists. 

  • Income-Eligible Childcare: $276.5 million to maintain the number of vouchers available for eligible recipients.

  • Medication-Assisted Treatment: Provides $16.5M for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for incarcerated people at Department of Corrections facilities and houses of correction with opioid use disorder.

  • Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC): Asset limits for TAFDC updated so that a family's first vehicle isn't counted against their eligibility.

  • Alternative Housing Voucher Program: Provides $8 million ($2 million more than last year) for a rental assistance program.

  • Prescription Drug Cost: SWM budget proposal gives MassHealth additional tools to tackle the rapidly growing cost of pharmaceutical drugs by allowing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to directly negotiate for fair and additional rebates or cost effective payment arrangements with pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Step #2:

Amendments & Debate

My strategy is always to fight for the priorities that I hear about again and again in the 2nd Suffolk District. At neighborhood meetings, through email, social media, and phone calls: you express these issue areas as critical to our neighborhoods and imperative to our future. The amendments I've filed and co-sponsored so far fall into a few different areas.

For a full list of amendments sponsored and co-sponsored by Sonia, please reference the MA Legislature's website.

Make your voice heard!

Join the conversation on the FY 20 Senate Budget by tweeting using #SenBudget, #mapoli, and @MA_Senate.

You can also email me directly at or look up your legislative office by typing in your address at the Massachusetts Legislature website.


Step #3:

Final Senate Budget & Victories

Last week, the Senate passed its FY20 Budget for the state. There were many spirited debates over the week about how best to support families and our communities across the commonwealth.

This year's budget debate saw innovative ideas and dogged follow-through on core priorities. Here are some of our big victories.


My amendment increased the funding for youth jobs to $15.5 million, $2.5 million more than last year, in order to provide over 4,000 summer jobs at the new minimum wage. Early work experiences are critical to helping young people stay in school and connect to careers.

K-12 Education Funding

$138 million in new funding to begin implementation of all 4 financial recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission--including the full “100% weighting” for low-income students in the Commonwealth’s most impoverished districts. This is a clear demonstration that the state can implement the reforms in the Education PROMISE Act.

Adult Basic Education

To improve teacher compensation and reduce the waitlist, the Senate allocated $38 million for adult basic education--a $4 million increase over last year.

Massachusetts Cultural Council

The Senate raised funding for MCC by over $1.5 million, to a total of $18 million, allowing increased grants for nonprofits, local cultural councils, cultural districts, school and youth programs, and artists.

Financial Literacy

The Senate allocated $250,000 to implement a competitive grant program to school districts to support the implementation of financial literacy standards in grades K-12.

Community Preservation Trust Fund

The Community Preservation Act Trust Fund helps cities and towns fund affordable housing, open space, and historic preservation projects across the Commonwealth. The Senate raised the fees to fund the Trust Fund to support this critical program.

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) is the first line of defense in Massachusetts against discrimination in employment, education, public places, and lending. My amendment increased funding for the MA Commission Against Discrimination by $120,000 to mitigate the loss of federal funds.

DDS Transportation

To help another 125 families and individuals with day transportation, the Senate increased the DDS Transporation line item by $750,000 to $29.5 million.

Commonwealth Preschool Partnership

The Senate restored $5 million in funding for grants to cities and towns to continue high-quality preschool programs that extend service to 4 year-olds.

Complete Count Fund

To ensure a complete and accurate count in the 2020 census, the Massachusetts Senate allocated $2 million to the statewide competitive complete count grant program.

Stabilizing Homeless Families

The Senate budget lifted the ceiling on eligible incomes for those in shelters so as not to interrupt the stabilization process.

Food Assistance

I was proud to see the Senate pass an amendment to raise funding for the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program to $20 million.

Children's Advocacy Centers

The Senate budget protects funding for Children's Advocacy Centers, ensuring that actual investments do not fall below what they were in 2018.

Rental Subsidy Program

The Senate budget raised funding for the Department of Mental Health Rental Subsidy Program to $7.5 million, to eliminate the current waiting list.

Substance Use Disorders

The Senate budget includes $150.2 million for substance use treatment and intervention services, including $3.5 million in new funding to open five new recovery centers around the state.

Roslindale Orange Line Extension

The Senate Budget directs the MBTA to conduct a feasibility study to extend orange line services to Roslindale Square.

The Senate Budget now heads to the Conference Committee and the Governor's desk. For updates on the rest of the budget process, check out the MA Legislature Website.


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