June 11, 2018
To the 190st General Court:
On behalf of the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging we would like to thank the leadership and the rank and file from both chambers for their FY19 budget proposals for our Commonwealth’s budget; each has its merits.
Our Board of Directors wishes to share their decision to unanimously support the Senate’s version which includes $15.6million in line item #9110-9002 and includes a $500,000 earmark in Line Item #5046-0000 to continue funding for the five Elder Mental Health Outreach Teams (EMHOT), a program not funded by the House.
Though the House raised the bar on the Formula Grant and met Governor Baker’s challenge to achieve our goal of $12 by 2020, a year ahead of schedule, we can be patient and wait until next year to ensure our other priorities are adequately addressed within this round.
The Senate outcome includes:
- Restoring the 3% cut to Line Item #9110-9002 from FY18;
- Raising the Formula Grant from $9.70 to $11/elder – a 12% increase in your local aid;
- Fully funding the Service Incentive Grant Program (SIG); and
- Fully funding the Elder Mental Health initiative ($500,000) a top priority of our membership:
This request was our original package for FY19 and as tempting as a $12 Formula Grant a year early is; we cannot sacrifice the services funded under the SIG programs and our Elder Mental Health Outreach Teams.
Surprisingly, the Senate package, totaling $16.1million is $415,125 less than what the House proposed but we are satisfied with this level of support, and will remember the commitment for $12 when we return for our fiscal year 2020 ‘ask.’
Again, we thank all members of the General Court for their tremendous support. We hope you all join us by promoting the Senate’s version of the FY19 Budget which includes $15.6million in line item #9110-9002 and has a $500,000 earmark in Line Item #5046-0000 to continue funding for the five Elder Mental Health Outreach Teams.
This EHMOT pilot program has overwhelming bipartisan support with 63 co-sponsors on the House floor amendment and 25 co-sponsors on the Senate side. Hundreds of older adults are currently having their mental health needs addressed in 48 communities through 5 pilot projects across our Commonwealth. Without this earmark, this program closes down June 30, 2018.
Please convey your support for an increase to Line Item #9110-9002 to $15.6million and a $500,000 earmark within #5046-000 for Elder Mental Health to Speaker DeLeo, President Chandler, HWM Chair Sanchez, SWM Chair Spilka, and Rep. Stephen Kulik, of Worthington, and Rep. Todd Smola, of Warren as well as Senators Joan Lovely, of Salem, and Vinny deMacedo, of Plymouth. Thank you for your attention to this detail and your ongoing support.
Rebecca Moriarty, Jayne Colino, David Stevens,
MCOA Board President MCOA Legislative Chair MCOA Executive Director