Massachusetts Senate Approves $58B Budget for 2025 Fiscal Year

By: State  Senator Pavel Payano – 6/24

          Photo: Angel Garcia

In a landmark decision, the Massachusetts Senate has unanimously passed a budget totaling $57.999 billion for the Fiscal Year 2025 (FY25). This significant decision followed three days of robust and bipartisan debate, resulting in the adoption of over 400 amendments and 43 roll call votes. The Senate added $89.6 million in spending for statewide initiatives and local priorities across the Commonwealth.

The approved budget underscores the Senate’s commitment to fiscal responsibility while ushering in historic levels of investment in education, regional equity, and mental health. Senate President Karen E. Spilka hailed the budget as an investment in the future of the Commonwealth, emphasizing its role in fostering affordability, competitiveness, and equity.

Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, Senator Michael J. Rodrigues, echoed this sentiment, highlighting the transformative investments in education and workforce development. He stressed the budget’s balanced and responsible approach, leveraging available resources without resorting to tax hikes or drawing from reserves.

The Senate’s budget allocates $58B in spending, representing a $1.8 billion increase over the previous fiscal year. This growth is underpinned by a tax revenue estimate of $41.5 billion for FY25, which is $208 million less than revenues assumed in FY24. It represents nearly flat growth and is supplemented by $1.3 billion from the Fair Share surtax.

As the state adjusts to changes in its economy and unpredictable tax income, the budget for the upcoming fiscal year (FY25) sticks to careful and sensible financial management. It doesn’t raise taxes, and it doesn’t dip into the emergency funds we have saved up. Instead, it uses extra money wisely to keep everything in balance.

The Senate’s budget plan also looks ahead responsibly by adding more money to the Rainy Day Fund, which is already at a record high of over $8 billion. If the Senate’s proposal is accepted, the state’s savings would grow even more, reaching over $9 billion by the end of FY25.

As part of our budget efforts, we led efforts to secure funding for several important district and statewide priorities. These priorities address critical needs and opportunities within our community, ensuring that we support essential programs and initiatives that contribute to our district’s growth and well-being.

They reflect our commitment to fostering a thriving and equitable community, where every resident has the opportunity to succeed and contribute to our collective prosperity. By investing in these diverse initiatives, we are building a stronger and more resilient 1st Essex District and cities like ours for both present and future generations.


YouthBuild: Successfully increased funding from $1.75 million to $3 million to support their efforts to combine education and workforce development opportunities for at-risk youth.

Massachusetts Downtown Initiative (MDI): $600,000 to the MDI for technical assistance for municipalities that wish to enhance the economic vitality and functionality of downtown areas by supporting activities like planning, parking management, and downtown branding/signage.
Greater Lawrence Family Health Clinic (GLFHC): $250,000 to support the expansion of the mobile health program, which provides essential healthcare services to homeless and underserved populations in Lawrence, Haverhill, Methuen, and surrounding areas.

MAN INC: $150,000 for enhancing entrepreneurial opportunities in the Methuen Arlington neighborhood.

Youth Development Organization: $75,000 for student success through STEM, arts, and leadership development.

Elevated Thought: $75,000 for expanding mural initiatives in urban areas.

Merrimack Valley Academy: $50,000 for youth sports activities.

Hispanic Image: $50,000 to empower entrepreneurs and women business owners in the Greater Haverhill, Lawrence, and Methuen area.

MakeIT Haverhill: $50,000 for workforce development in the Mt. Washington neighborhood.
Somebody Cares New England: $50,000 to address food security and homelessness in Haverhill.


The Senate’s budget for the fiscal year 2025 (FY25) includes $1.3 billion in money collected from the Fair Share surtax. This tax is 4% on yearly income over $1 million. Since FY25 is the second year we’ve had this tax income, the Senate plans to use it for various important projects. These projects aim to make our state’s economy stronger by improving public education and transportation.

Notable Fair Share Investments – Education

$170 million for Universal School Meals

$150 million for the Commonwealth Cares for Children (C3) program to provide monthly grants to early education and care programs, which is matched with $325 million in funds from the General Fund and the High-Quality Early Education & Care Affordability Fund for a total investment of $475 million.

$117.5 million for MassEducate to provide free community college across the Commonwealth.

$80 million for childcare affordability, creating more than 4,000 new subsidized childcare seats and expanding access to subsidized childcare to families making 85 per cent state median income.

$65 million for early education and care provider rate increases, to increase salaries for our early educators.

$15 million for the CPPI Pre-K Initiative, matching $17.5 million in funds from the General Fund, for a total of $32.5M to support the expansion of universal pre-kindergarten, including in Gateway Cities.
$10 million for early literacy initiatives.

$7.5 million for school-based mental health supports and wraparound services.

Notable Fair Share Investments – Transportation

$125 million for Roads and Bridges Supplemental Aid for cities and towns, including $62.5 million for local road funds through a formula that recognizes the unique transportation issues faced by rural communities.

$120 million for Regional Transit Funding and Grants to support the work of Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) that serve the Commonwealth, which together with General Fund spending funds RTAs at a record $214 million.

$23 million to support the implementation of a low-income fare relief program at the MBTA.

$15 million for municipal small bridges and culverts.


Education emerges as a focal point of the budget, with substantial investments across various levels. The Senate Ways and Means FY25 budget proposal implements the Senate’s Student Opportunity Plan by shaping policies to make high-quality education more accessible and by making significant investments in the education system, from our youngest learners to adults re-entering the higher education system.

In K-12 education, we uphold our commitment to fully fund and implement the Student Opportunity Act (SOA) by Fiscal Year 2027. We’re investing $6.9 billion in Chapter 70 funding, an increase of $319 million over FY24. We’re also raising the minimum Chapter 70 aid from $30 to $110 per pupil, providing an additional $40 million in resources to school districts across the state. With these investments, we continue to provide crucial support to school districts facing the growing cost pressures of delivering high-quality education to all students.

In addition to record levels of investment in early education and K-12, our budget removes barriers to accessing public higher education by codifying into law MassEducate, a $117.5 million investment in a universal free community college program covering tuition and fees for residents. This program is aimed at supporting economic opportunity, workforce development, and opening the door to higher education for people who may never have had access. The FY25 budget permanently enshrines free community college into law in an affordable, sustainable, and prudent manner across the Commonwealth, ensuring we don’t leave any federal dollars on the table.

1st Essex District Chapter 70 Allocations

Haverhill $87,968,052
(6.46% increase)

Lawrence $286,250,811
(7.55% increase)

Methuen – $68,616,821
(6.08% increase)

In addition to education, the budget prioritizes community support, healthcare, and housing. Notable allocations include $1.3 billion for Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA), increased payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT), and significant funding for healthcare services, food security, and housing assistance.

1st Essex District UGGA Allocations

Haverhill $12,101,856
(3% increase)

Lawrence $24,176,627
(3% increase)

Methuen $6,694,913
(3% increase)

The Senate remains committed to continuing an equitable recovery, expanding opportunity, and supporting the state’s long-term economic health. To that end, the Senate’s budget increases the annual child’s clothing allowance, providing a historic $500 per child for eligible families to buy clothes for the upcoming school year. The budget also includes a 10 per cent increase to Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) and Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC) benefit levels compared to June 2024 to help families move out of deep poverty.

In addition, the budget provides $87 million in critical funding to support a host of food security initiatives including $42 million for Emergency Food Assistance to assist residents in navigating the historical levels in food insecurity, and $20 million for the Health Incentives Program (HIP) to ensure full operation of the program to maintain access to healthy food options for SNAP households.

Addressing the pressing issue of housing affordability, the Senate earmarked $1.14 billion for housing stability, residential assistance, and homelessness programs. This includes substantial funding of $197.4 million for Emergency Assistance Family Shelters and Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT).

Other Housing Investments

$231.5 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), including $12.5 million in funds carried forward from FY24.

$115 million for assistance to local housing authorities.

$110.8 million for assistance for homeless individuals.

$57.3 million for the HomeBASE diversion and rapid re-housing programs.

$27 million for the Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP), including $10.7 million in funds carried forward from FY24, to provide rental assistance to people with disabilities.

The final FY25 Senate budget reflects a comprehensive approach to addressing the Commonwealth’s most pressing needs while ensuring fiscal sustainability. A conference committee will now reconcile differences between the Senate and House versions of the budget before its finalization.

For more details, the complete FY25 Senate budget is available on the Senate budget website. ◊