Ask your Legislators to Include these Priority Budget Requests 

Each year the Massachusetts legislature creates a budget that funds the state from July 1 – June 30. The process begins in January when the Governor releases her budget. The House releases their budget in April, and the Senate releases their budget in May. Any differences between the versions are worked out in committee for July 1.

Our state constitution mandates the budget be balanced each year, meaning that unlike the federal government, the state is not allowed to run a deficit. Legislators do their best to create a budget in line with what they think revenues will be for the upcoming fiscal year based on current tax collection and projections.

For fiscal year FY25 (which begins July 1, 2024), revenues are down, so some things will likely get decreased funding compared to FY24. You may remember that Governor Healey already announced $375M in cuts in her version of the budget this past January. This means we will need to advocate strongly to fund the programs supporting our communities. Now is the time to reach out to your legislators and ask them to prioritize spending on issues that are most important to you.

Please contact your legislators today and ask them to prioritize:

  • Massachusetts Food Assistance Program (MEFAP) funding – $47M in the FY25 budget
  • An Act establishing the Massachusetts Hunger-Free Campus Initiative S.835/H.1293 – $2M in the FY25 budget
  • Cliff Effect Pilot Program Funding – $1M in the FY25 budget

Here is why these programs matter:

Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program (MEFAP): 

  • MEFAP is a reliable source of nutritious food for food pantries, meal sites, and emergency shelters across the Commonwealth.
  • 30% of the food we distribute at the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts is purchased with MEFAP funds.
  • In FY22, more than $12 million worth of MEFAP food was purchased from Massachusetts suppliers, including 41 farms. This direct investment in local farms and businesses strengthens the Massachusetts economy.

An Act establishing the Massachusetts Hunger-Free Campus Initiative S.835/H.1293 – Creates a grant program for 2- and 4-year state colleges to address student hunger and food insecurity on campus.  The HFC Initiative will:

  • Establish a hunger-free campus taskforce.
  • Notify students who receive need-based financial aid of their potential eligibility to receive SNAP and WIC.
  • Enable campuses to partner with local anti-hunger organizations to provide access to on-campus food distributions or access to a local food pantry within a reasonable distance of campus, or establish a stigma-free on-campus food pantry.
  • Create campus markets that accept SNAP benefits.

Cliff Effect Pilot – The Cliff Effect Pilot Program is a 3-year pilot with up to 100 qualifying participants who will receive career training, financial coaching, and payment to make up for the loss of benefits that causes the “cliff effect”. The cliff effect occurs when employees get a raise or new job with higher income that causes them to lose their benefits.

  • The cliff effect keeps people trapped in low-income jobs and unable to progress in their careers.
  • The Cliff Effect Pilot received $1M in funding as an amendment to the Economic Development Bill in 2022.
  • The program now has a program director, evaluator, and a steering committee working to implement the pilot.
  • $1M will fund the next year of the program.


Thank you for your advocacy!

-Laura Sylvester 

Learn more about the state budget process:

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