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Opinion: What to do with billions in surplus and federal relief funds

“The numbers are in: the Massachusetts state budget that ended last month had a surplus of more than $3 billion (yes, with a “B”). We could find ourselves with another surplus next July. Currently, Beacon Hill is debating what to do with the $5 billion in additional funds coming to the commonwealth from the federal American Rescue Plan. This doesn’t count the potential billions more if Congress passes President Biden’s envisioned American Families Plan.

It’s welcome news after a trainwreck of a year, where families lost loved ones, jobs and economic security. While the Covid-19 virus did not discriminate based on wealth, gender or race, the impacts of it certainly did. The pandemic focused a spotlight on the systemic inequities and structural racism that cause disparities across all areas of society.

That’s why these billions in surplus and relief funds must be used to fix the major fault lines in our social infrastructure. We know exactly where to start. It’s time to fix our broken early education and child care system.

We can’t afford not to.”


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