BOSTON (WWLP) – The first hearing was held at the Statehouse Tuesday to determine who gets to spend more than $5 billion from the American Rescue Plan.
The hearing felt like progress was made on what’s been a financial battle here on Beacon Hill for months now. Governor Charlie Baker testified virtually in front of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means around 11 a.m. on Tuesday.
During his hour-long testimony, Baker outlined his plan to spend $2.9 billion immediately, on things like housing, job training, and addiction treatment, three areas that were hit the hardest by COVID-19.
“These are some of the most time-sensitive issues that are facing the Commonwealth as we recover from the pandemic,” Baker said.
Members of the Ways and Means Committee didn’t disagree with Baker’s assessment that the funds are needed now, but they say they want to have a thorough conversation with city and town leaders as well as Massachusetts employers to determine how the money will be spent.
With our state mostly back to normal Gov. Baker wants to give the economy the boost it needs but lawmakers say it could be months before a spending decision is made.