Baker Signed $1.67 Billion Midyear Budget

Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday signed the multi-faceted $1.67 billion midyear spending bill that lawmakers sent to his desk Thursday night, approving all of the bill’s spending while sending back one veto and one amendment.

The fiscal 2022 supplemental budget allocates money toward the ongoing COVID-19 response ($700 million), rate enhancements to human service providers ($401 million), winter road repair ($100 million), rental assistance ($100 million) and more, extends pandemic-era restaurant policies for a year, and directs state officials to divest public pension funds from Russia-involved companies.

Baker vetoed one section that he said would “prevent the Department of Early Education and Care from entering into any contracts exceeding one year in length between March 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.” Baker said he was vetoing the “restriction” because it “impermissibly interferes with executive decision making, as well as the efficient delivery of essential childcare services”

The governor also sent back with an amendment a section of the bill that allocates supplemental early intervention staffing recovery payments “disproportionately in favor of large providers at the expense of smaller providers.” Baker said he supports the funding but the distribution formula the section established “can and should be improved.”

Though he signed the section “to indicate support for the intent of the appropriation,” Baker told lawmakers in a letter that he wants to work with them to “effectuate a technical fix to an item authorizing spending for refugee resettlement.”

The bill includes $10 million for Ukrainian refugee and immigrant resettlement efforts.

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