Cambridge legislators vote to override Baker vetoes


Cambridge Chronicle


Members of the Cambridge state legislative delegation joined their colleagues recently in overriding a number of Gov. Charlie Baker’s vetoes to the fiscal 2016 budget. The veto override votes came roughly two weeks after Baker rejected $162.8 million of the $38.1 billion in spending lawmakers approved earlier this month. The legislature’s overrides restore previously approved funding for housing, early education, health and arts programs.

Among the vetoes targeted by legislators for overrides were Baker’s rejections of $17.6 million for the expansion of full-day kindergarten and $2 million for programs created to address youth homelessness. Funding for those programs was restored through unanimous votes in the House and Senate. Lawmakers also restored a funding increase for the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which provides grant funding for local artists and arts councils.

“This year the Legislature was able to pass a very strong budget that I and many of my colleagues were proud to send to Governor Baker,” said state Rep. Tim Toomey. “Unfortunately, he did send a number of funding increases back to us, but I think the wide margins on these override votes, including many that were unanimous, show the confidence that House and Senate members have in the investments we chose to make.”

“I’m delighted that the governor’s vetoes of key housing program funds were all overridden,” said Rep. Marjorie Decker. “Those included $3 million for vouchers and $650,000 for service centers as well as funding commitments for renters though HomeBASE. These are important, valuable programs that provide essential support for hundreds of families in need.”

Legislators also voted to restore a funding increase for Department of Public Health’s Family Health Services program, which provides clinic-based reproductive health care, counseling, and preventative screenings to low-income adolescents and adults. The Cambridge-based Forsyth Kids program, which provides in-school dental screenings and cleanings for low-income students, was also the target of a Baker veto. Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to maintain the $300,000 they had originally dedicated to the program.

“I am proud to have voted with my colleagues in the Legislature to override several of the governor’s vetoes, helping to put millions of dollars back into vital programs for our commonwealth,” said state Sen. Sal DiDomenico, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “I am confident that this year’s final budget makes strategic investments in some of Massachusetts’s most critical services and programs, while still remaining financially responsible. The final fiscal 2016 budget not only includes many of our community’s top priorities, but also vital initiatives for the state as a whole so we can continue to move our commonwealth forward.”

“The Legislature’s final budget makes crucial investments in core services and programs,” said state Sen. Pat Jehlen. “I was happy to reaffirm my support for that budget and to vote to restore funding that will positively impact people’s lives in Cambridge and across Massachusetts.”

“I am proud to join my colleagues in supporting the Legislature’s final budget, restoring critical funding necessary to ensuring the continued growth and support needed for Cambridge,” said Sen. Anthony Petruccelli. “Our commonwealth’s budget continues to remain one of the most important issues debated and is an essential tool in providing responsible investments that will help us to best support our commonwealth.”

State Rep. Dave Rogers said, “Overriding so many of Governor Baker’s misguided vetoes of funding for critically important programs such as kindergarten expansion grants, affordable housing vouchers, and Massachusetts Cultural Council funding for the arts was the final step in finalizing a financially responsible fiscal 2016 budget that makes strong investments in a number of key areas such as affordable housing and substance abuse treatment.”

Legislators also voted to override Baker’s veto of funding for the Lynch Family Skatepark in Cambridge. The override restores $138,000 that had been set aside to help fund the Charles River Conservancy’s environmental remediation efforts at the skatepark site.

“I am proud to have worked with my colleagues in the Cambridge delegation to secure this funding for the Lynch Family Skatepark,” said Toomey. “The skatepark project is not just about building a great new public recreational facility. It is also contributing to the clean-up and revitalization of the Charles River Basin.”


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