June 1, 2023
The Massachusetts Senate completed its budget debate in May, making some significant investments in food system needs. These include $1,000,000 for food literacy, $250,000 to continue the grant program for local food policy councils, and $1,020,000 for healthy soils.
The Senate budget also increases administrative budgets for the departments of Agricultural Resources and Public Health, matching the Governor’s requested increases for those agencies. The Governor, House, and Senate were all in alignment with their proposals for $25 million for the Food Security Infrastructure Grant program, another priority for local food system stakeholders.
The three budget proposals also all have the same proposal for HIP, to carry forward whatever resources remain at the end of June and add $5,000,000 in new funds. We anticipate that this will total approximately $13,000,000. The program has already spent more than that much in the current fiscal year and has been growing at a rate of greater than 30%, so advocates will need to be watchful for the need for additional investment in HIP later in the year through a supplemental budget, in order to ensure that it can continue operating to meet demand.
Both chambers will now establish a conference committee to reconcile the House and Senate budgets for approval and submission to the Governor. The state’s fiscal year ends on June 30, with the intent being that the new budget will be in place at that time.