Albany - Assemblyman José Rivera (Bronx), the Chair of the Assembly Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy is pleased that the Governor's proposed State budget was generous to emergency food programs such as food pantries and soup kitchens, but concerned about funding cuts for senior meal programs and WIC. In addition, the Governor's budget would delay increases in public assistance grants, reduce funds for obesity and diabetes prevention and eating disorders, and cut services for the homeless.
Rivera stated, "I welcome the Governor's significant increase in funding for food pantries and soup kitchens helping those hungry families and individuals who have been hit hardest by the Great Recession we are experiencing. However, I am not pleased by the Governor backing away from his commitment to raise public assistance benefits which have not increased in 20 years. If Wall St. CEOs can get government bonuses this year so should mothers and their children who are barely surviving on their welfare checks."
The Governor's budget includes a nearly $10 million increase in funding for emergency food programs. However, the cuts in programs serving the homeless will hurt the same people who will be turning to the food programs. Reduced funding for senior meal programs and WIC will hurt those who are trying to keep from relying on emergency donations.
"I am also concerned about going backwards in our efforts to prevent childhood obesity and diabetes. These health problems will lead to higher health care costs for Medicaid where spending increased faster than expected this year," added Rivera.
New York is experiencing one of its worse downturns in history and the legislature will work to make improvements to the Governor's budget plan.
"I look forward to working with the Speaker, my colleagues in the Assembly, our friends in the Senate, the Governor, and the President and Congress, to support our struggling families and seniors. I believe that we can do even more to use nutrition assistance and education to reach those goals and will continue my work to improve food policy for consumers, food businesses and farmers." said Rivera.