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Effort to increase the FY'17 MRC SHIP Budget (line item 4120-6000)

Funding for the Statewide Head Injury Program
Governor Baker signed FY ’17 budget

The Baker administration in late June estimated that tax revenues for FY’17 could fall $650 million to $950 million short of projections agreed to in January.  Executive and legislative leaders were caught off guard as stock market volatility cut into investment gains last year, resulting in lower than expected capital gains tax collections over the second half of FY ‘16.  The Conference Committee budget negotiators trimmed $750 million in expected revenues and $413 million in proposed spending in the budget.  As a result of the Conference Committee negotiations, funding for the Statewide Head Injury Program (SHIP) was limited to $15,898,807.

Governor Baker signed the FY ’17 budget on July 8th and handed down $256 million in spending vetoes.  The funding for SHIP was NOT vetoed.  On a rare weekend session, on July 31st, the Democrat-controlled Legislature restored about 90 percent of the funding that Governor Baker vetoed, a decision that independent budget analysts say increases the likelihood of mid-year budget reductions.

The FY'17 budget at Conference Committee - June 2016

BIA-MA asks you to support our highest priority to fund the Statewide Head Injury Program. Please ask your legislators to talk to theirrespective conferees.*  The Conferees are:

Co-chairs:      Sen. Karen Spilka of Ashland
  Rep. Brian Dempsey of Haverhill
Members:   Sen. Sal DiDomenico of Everett
  Sen. Vinny deMacedo of Plymouth
  Rep. Stephen Kulik of Worthington
  Rep. Todd Smola of Warren

If one of your legislators is a conferee, please reach out and discuss this priority with or his/her aide:

Please support Senate bill 4920-6000--- $16,027,715 (cut of $128,908 from current funding if not passed)

Senate Budget:

On May 25, 2016, the Senate rejected the budget amendment (4120-6000) funding for the Statewide Head Injury Program (SHIP).  The amendment would have funded the first regional multi-service center, located in the northeast section of the state, to serve individuals with acquired brain injury.  The amendment was sponsored by Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives and co-sponsored by six additional senators. 

The Senate Ways and Means Committee released its budget on May 17, 2016.  The budget did increase funding for SHIP by $128,908.  This additional funding was to make up to House budget cuts under Chapter 257. 

About the FY'17 Budget Ask:

BIAMA advocacyIn the Fall of 2015, the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts (BIA-MA) began collaborative, grass roots advocacy campaign seeking funding for the FY’17 Budget for Statewide Head Injury Program (SHIP).

In the past, BIA-MA began significantly advocating for the annual MRC SHIP Budget Ask (funded by Line Item 4120-6000) once the Governor has released the budget. This year, however, in order to provide the brain injury community with early and up-to-date information to advocate for the FY’17 Budget Ask, our grass roots campaign will start in the Fall of 2015 - the earliest and most inclusive start ever!

The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission’s (MRC) SHIP program provides a broad range of community-based services that support individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and their families. The SHIP program is part of the community Living Division at MRC. Services for eligible applicants include: Service coordination, regional service centers, residential services, case management, individual skills training, companion services, consultation for families, substance abuse services, and social and recreational programs. For more information visit

There are currently 4,318 individuals who have suffered a TBI and are eligible for SHIP services through MRC. In order to aid these individuals, the state would need to increase SHIP funding by an additional $24.9 million over the FY’16 budget of $15.8 million. Many of these individuals have waited for services for a number of years.

In order to work toward this goal, BIA-MA will be orchestrating this grass roots advocacy campaign. We will ask those interested to educate their elected officials through a large number of emails and/or phone calls at different points in the campaign. Elected legislators typically:

  • Base most of their decisions on what they hear from their constituents
  • Care about what their constituents think, especially those who communicate their views
  • Need the votes of their constituents to get re-elected

The target audience will vary depending on timing. The key players include:FY'17 Ask

    • Executive branch: 
      Governor Charlie Baker
      Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristin LePore
      Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders
      MRC Commissioner Nicky Osborne
    • Legislative branch:
      Senate President Stanley Rosenberg
      Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen Spilka
      Speaker of the House of Representatives Robert DeLeo
      House Ways and Means Chair Brian Dempsey
    •  Your individual State Senator and Representative 
      Find your legislators at:

Click here to view the MRC FY'17 SHIP Budget Ask Flyer
Click here to Find my Legislator

For more information about Advocacy at BIA-MA, contact Kelly Buttiglieri at 508-475-0032 or