The Massachusetts Senate passed its version of the state budget for fiscal 2018 on May 25. Several important items relating to housing authority subsidy and election of tenant members in towns were pulled at the last moment. Amendments 652 and 653, certifying the 2015 and 2016 elections of LHA members in towns, specifying use of Chapter 41 to fill any election vacancies, and authorizing a commission to make recommendations improving the tenant election process, were pulled primarily due to differences in language.
Also withdrawn was amendment 620 seeking $1 million in subsidy to match the level of funding passed by the House last month. The subsidy amendment had little chance of passage as the news swept through the State House that current budget revenue is $575 million short with only 33 days to go.
The only increase was an additional $372,000 to DHCD for an IT platform to aid in the implementation of a state public housing central wait list during fiscal 2018. A Conference Committee has until the end of June to propose a compromise state budget to be adopted by both the House and Senate. The Committee will be asked to go with the higher House number of $65.5 million for operating subsidy. Thank you to all those MassNAHRO members who took the time to contact their state senators to urge support for amendments 652 and 653, extricating DHCD out of their current tenant election legal pickle, and amendment 620 increasing subsidy by $1 million.