In reaction to this week’s passage by the Massachusetts Legislature of the $36.5 billion Fiscal Year 2015 state budget proposal, Michael E. Festa, state director of AARP Massachusetts – which serves more than 800,000 residents age 50 and older in the Commonwealth – issued the following statement:
“AARP commends the Massachusetts Legislature for funding key provisions central to the health, safety, and financial security of the state’s 50+ population.
“The vast majority of older Americans want to live independently, at home and in their community, as they age. AARP Massachusetts is pleased to see that the Fiscal Year 2015 budget supports the rebalancing and strengthening of long term care for today’s seniors, which includes high quality, affordable skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, adult day health services, senior housing, home and community based services, elder protective services, elder nutrition, and wage increases for home health care workers.
“Additionally, we are happy to see the $1.1 million increase in funding to Councils on Aging, which provides invaluable community services.
“AARP works tirelessly to strengthen the financial security of Massachusetts residents 50 and older. By 2030, the 65-plus population will grow to more than 20 percent in Massachusetts – an estimated 1.5 million residents. As such, we applaud the investment to accelerate the full funding of the state pension system four years earlier than scheduled. We are pleased to see that the Commonwealth protects pension benefits for those who have paid into the system over a lifetime of hard work.
“We urge Governor Patrick to sign the Fiscal Year 2015 budget.”