Assemblyman José Rivera: Food, Farm Programs In State Budget

Budget preserves funds to fight hunger and feed seniors and prevent childhood obesity and diabetes. Funding for agriculture programs restored.

(Albany, NY) Assemblyman José Rivera (Bronx), the Chair of the Assembly Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy announced that the State budget spared nutrition and agriculture programs in a budget that had to close a $10 billion deficit.

Rivera stated, “I fought hard to counteract the cuts in the Governor’s budget and the Assembly’s budget supported extending the income tax surcharge on the wealthy. Although we couldn’t do everything we wanted in the State budget for schools and human service programs that are struggling during the worst recession in 70 years, we were able to help protect the programs that provide food assistance to families and seniors who are struggling to put food on the table. We also preserved programs that prevent nutrition-related problems and help reduce spending on hospital and doctor visits. And we helped our state’s farmers by continuing the modest programs that help them through tough times.”

The 2010-11 State budget maintained funding for: the hunger prevention program for food banks, soup kitchens and food pantries; the senior home-delivered meal programs; the WIC program; nutrition outreach to enroll families in Food Stamps; and, childhood obesity prevention and diabetes prevention. State funding for school meals was actually slightly increased.

The legislature restored funding that the Governor had cut in his proposed budget for the NYS Apple Growers Association, Farm Family Assistance, Farm Viability Institute, Center for Dairy Excellence and other programs important to farmers.

“Although we had a few positive achievements in a difficult budget year, it is not enough. I will continue to fight for the needs of the increasing number of hungry families so they have the support systems in place to allow our children to grow and develop into healthy, productive adults,” said Rivera.