Mass. House Passes Spending Increase for Social Programs

By Sarah Birnbaum

Jan. 20, 2012


The Mass. House voted for a $130 million spending bill. (Rojer/Flickr).

BOSTON — The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a $130 million spending bill on Jan. 18 that will restore some programs cut from this year's budget.

The bill would put $35 million back into adult day health programs and provide $21 million for heating assistance for low-income families.

But Brian Dempsey, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said there’s still less money this year for heating assistance than last year, because of federal cuts to the program.

“The feds are going to provide approximately  $132 million in assistance this year. That’s about a 50 million decrease. We felt that it warrants our attention, and we provide a larger increase than we did in the past, actually, which we feel will go a long way in helping to backfill some of the federal cut," Dempsey said.
The bill would also freeze the unemployment insurance tax rate. Without the freeze, businesses would see their taxes go up in April on average about $141 per employee.

The spending measure now moves on to the Senate.

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