Senator Dan Wolf
Massachusetts Cape & Islands District
Senator Wolf details successes within a tough, tight budget

Despite one of the most difficult budgets in memory, Cape and Islands State Senator Dan Wolf (D-Harwich) reports tangible successes in the $30.6-billion version passed today by the House and Senate.

Wolf detailed four initiatives, all with special significance for the Cape and Islands, of the many in which he played a key role.

Wastewater:  Included in the budget is $150,000 to fund a comprehensive, county-wide analysis, managed by the Cape Cod Commission, of how to solve Cape Cod’s wastewater crisis, considered the most serious environmental problem facing our communities. “This is clear recognition at the state level of the importance of this issue not just for our communities, but for the state as a whole,” said Wolf.  “It is a crucial first step in what will be a long process that will lead to environmental protection and cost savings to protect our taxpayers.”

Regional schools:  Towns regionalizing school systems, like Harwich and Chatham, as well as communities that already have regional schools, like many across the Cape and Islands, will now have access to a $4 million, one-time funding source to help defray start-up and transition costs.  “This is one of many ways to encourage regional schools,” said Wolf, who championed the funding effort, “and allows our towns to spend more of our precious local education dollars on what really matters most: excellent teachers and quality programs.”

Arts and culture:  Nearly $5.5 million has been dedicated to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a crucial funding conduit for many of the Cape and Islands’ cultural organizations, which in turn support many of the region’s artists, writers, and performers. “As co-chair of the Massachusetts Cultural Caucus, I’m proud that we have been able to maintain this level of funding for the arts, which I see as essential to healthy communities,” said Wolf.

Lyme Disease:  A state commission will be created to report on the scourge of Lyme Disease, and explore everything from education outreach to medical and insurance issues related to an often misunderstood, misdiagnosed illness.  “I co-sponsored this legislation because Lyme Disease needs to emerge from the shadows,” said Wolf.  “I look forward to the work of the commission.”

The budget now moves to Governor Deval Patrick’s desk.  Within 10 days, he has the authority to approve, veto, or amend specific line items and return those matters to the House and Senate.