Massachusetts ‘Economic Stimulus’ Bill Includes $1 Million To ‘Educate’ About ‘So-Called Crisis Pregnancy Centers’

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A measure passed by the Massachusetts Legislature billed as a stimulus for the state’s economy has been stripped of tax cuts but still has $17,500,000 for grants to encourage abortion and contraception.

It also calls for $1 million “for a public awareness campaign to educate providers and the public about so-called crisis pregnancy centers and pregnancy resource centers and their lack of medical services.”

The legislation, Massachusetts House Bill 5374, is called “An Act Relating To Economic Growth and Relief for the Commonwealth.” It passed both the Massachusetts House and Senate on Thursday, November 3.

Any one of the 200 state legislators could have blocked the bill, since so-called formal sessions of the legislature ended August 1. During informal sessions, no legislation can pass without unanimous consent. Informal sessions continue until early January 2023.

At 2:28 p.m. Thursday, November 3, in the 160-member Massachusetts House of Representatives, an emergency preamble to the bill was recorded as having passed on a 4-0 vote.

Pro-life advocates are calling on Governor Charlie Baker to veto the bill.

“Instead of addressing the vandalism perpetrated against several Massachusetts pregnancy resource centers this summer, Beacon Hill wants to use tax dollars to fund a million-dollar smear campaign attacking the life-saving work of these centers with lies and harassment,” said Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute.

On July 7, two crisis pregnancy centers in Worcester were hit with broken glass and graffiti overnight. On August 18, a crisis pregnancy center in Easthampton was vandalized with spraypaint.

The state government is flush with case, because of increases in tax revenue and massive stimulus grants from the federal government associated with the coronavirus measures.

The original version of the bill called for tax cuts. State legislators were considering issuing $250 tax rebate checks to taxpayers. Also under consideration were lowering property taxes for many senior citizens, doubling the dependent care tax credit, and lowering the state’s short-term capital gains tax from 12 percent to 5 percent.

State legislative leaders junked tax cuts after they were surprised to learn that a state statute approved by voters in 1986 required state officials to give voters an approximately 13 percent rebate on their state income taxes. Governor Baker argued that the state’s surplus is so high that the state government could withstand all the tax cuts under consideration.  But Democratic leaders on Beacon Hill decided to delay further tax cuts.

Massachusetts House and Senate leaders are touting planned spending for housing, hospitals, and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, among other things. Four Democratic leaders (the House Speaker, Ron Mariano (D-Quincy); the Senate president, Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), the House Ways and Means Committee chairman, Aaron Michlewitz (D-North End); and the Senate Ways and Means Committee chairman, Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport)) issued a joint statement about the bill

“Today, House and Senate leaders reached agreement on an economic development package that will help ease the financial strain brought on by challenging economic conditions in Massachusetts and across the country, thus closing the books on Fiscal Year 2022. Among many vital investments, the agreement provides relief for rising energy costs, boosts housing production, provides much needed immediate assistance to the MBTA, and allocates meaningful funding for hospitals and human service workers, all while promoting economic growth through support for our small businesses and investments in our communities,” the four legislative leaders said in a written statement.

Among the line item appropriations in the bill are:


—  $471.8 million to MassHealth for fee-for-service payments

—  $300 million “for fiscally strained hospitals”

—  $165 million for nursing facilities for more general needs

—  $125 million to increase pay for service providers

—  $100 million for “human service providers”

—  $153 million for businesses affected by the coronavirus shutdowns

—  Nearly $112 million for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

—  $75 million for hotels that suffered during the coronavirus shutdowns

—  $30 million for rest homes for coronavirus-related testing and personal protective equipment

—  $30 million for small businesses with 50 or fewer employees

—  $25 million to expand broadband Internet, provided that projects “promote digital equity and inclusion” and “benefit communities of color”

—  $11 million for test vaccines outreach

—  $10.5 million for “labor and workforce development”

—  $5 million for mental health services for adults

—  $5 million “for debt service obligations incurred by the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, Inc. so that the institute may continue offering civic education programming to the public”

—  $3 million for movie theaters that suffered during the coronavirus shutdowns

—  $2.9 million for settlements and judgments against Holyoke Soldiers’ Home for deaths during the coronavirus emergency measures

—  $1 million to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield “for repairs and upgrades”


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