Blog

Tag ‘ fiscal cliff ’

SNAP Provides a Significant Economic Boost

Last year partially due to the fiscal cliff a new Farm Bill was not passed. Funding for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), run by the US Department of Agriculture, was of major concern for anti-hunger advocates across the country. Representatives in the House proposed deep cuts to SNAP: $16.5 billion over 10 years, which would cut as many as 3 million low-income Americans from the program. The Senate countered with a farm bill cutting $4.5 billion from SNAP over the same time period.

Congress couldn’t agree on a Farm Bill so it simply didn’t happen, and instead Congress passed an extension until September 30. With the new congress now in session, they have to start all over. The chair of the House Agriculture Committee, told the Capital Press this weekend that the new House Farm Bill will mandate $20 billion in SNAP cuts over the next ten years. Drew Hammill, communications director for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, told The Nation, that SNAP not only helps vulnerable Americans, but it provides a significant economic boost. Research shows that for every dollar invested in SNAP over $1.84 goes back into the economy.

SNAP usage flows with the economy. During the recession, participation in the program increased (as it should) and as the economy continues to improve, we will see spending on SNAP decrease significantly over the next ten years all by itself.

In the meantime, there are still many Americans who need the help of SNAP to put food on their tables. We can’t allow a Farm Bill to pass that cuts one of our most effective stimulus programs.

As the House AG Committee takes up the Farm Bill later this month, we need to be clear that these steep cuts to SNAP are unacceptable. So what can you do? Follow our blog and join our advocacy email alerts to stay informed during the process. And tell your friends.

Sources include: http://www.thenation.com/blog/174094/house-gop-plans-even-deeper-food-stamp-cuts and http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2010/04/14/USDA-Will-Spend-63-billion-On-Food-Stamps-This-Year.aspx#page1.

Charity Could Tumble Over Fiscal Cliff

Originally posted in the Vacaville Reporter: The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano receives nearly half of its funding from individuals. We live in a generous community where people support the cost-effective work we do.

 The Food Bank is concerned that one of the options discussed in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations has been to limit the tax deductions people can take when they donate to nonprofit organizations such as the Food Bank. Donating to faith communities and nonprofit organizations is part of our social culture, but I worry that the support people provide will be limited if the tax deduction changes.

 As an example of the changes being debated, the recently passed compromise bill enacted Congress by restored a deduction that allowed those over 70 1/2 years old to donate IRA funds they must withdraw. The restored law says that if a donation of more than $100,000 is made directly to a nonprofit organization before Feb. 1, the roll-over is tax-deductible. After that, this option will not be available, so the tax-deductible motivation will be gone.

 Other options under consideration have focused on limiting the total amount of deductible donations people can give or limiting the amount people can deduct based on their income. I understand the budget issues our country faces, but anything that discourages people from giving to charitable organizations raises concerns.

 Nonprofit organizations do incredible work with limited funds. Faith communities and nonprofits are able to respond to concerns in local communities with speed and focus. We are able to carry out the work donors want to see done because we can directly respond to those who give us the funds we need. The issues we are facing today make collaboration between nonprofits and government necessary. This is not the time to limit the ability of the community to support organizations addressing the issues they see in the community.

To learn more about how you can help take action against these changes, contact Lisa Sherrill at the Food Bank: (925) 676-7543 ext. 206 or e-maillsherrill@foodbankccs.org.

 

 

Governor Proposes Balanced Budget

Governor Proposes Balanced Budget

A balanced budget for the upcoming fiscal year was projected by Governor Brown on Thursday when he released his proposed budget plan. The big budget news is increased spending on k-12 schools. We want to focus on two areas we feel will have the most impact on the people that rely on the Food Bank.

California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Program.

CalWORKS provides cash assistance for 1.1 million low-income children as their parents find jobs. Significant cuts have been made to this program over the recent years including reducing General Fund spending on CalWORKS by $469 million in the current fiscal year. In the governor’s proposal, there is an increase of $142.8 million in state support for CalWORKS. This is to support counties as that implement programmatic changes. Otherwise the proposed budget maintains the curs that were made without reducing spending further.

Medi-Cal Program.

California’s version of Medicaid is called Medi-Cal and is a health coverage program serving approximately 8 million low-income children, parents, seniors and people with disabilities. Several cuts have been made to this program in recent years as well.

Governor Brown proposes two options for implementing the Medi-Cal expansion envisioned by the federal health care reform:

  1. A state-based approach that would build upon the existing state-administered program and a managed care delivery system, or
  2. a county-based approach that builds on the existing Low Income Health Program with the counties being the lead for the expansion.

Other proposals to Medi-Cal include:

  • Extend a current fee on hospitals that is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2013, resulting in General Fund savings of $310 million. The fee provides funding for children’s health coverage as well as supplemental payments for hospitals.
  • Implement unspecified “efficiencies” in Medi-Cal managed care in order to reduce General Fund spending by $135 million.
  • Require Medi-Cal enrollees to select their health plans during an annual open enrollment period and remain in that plan for a full year. This proposal would reduce General Fund spending by $1 million in 2013-14 and each year thereafter.

We will keep you posted on how the budget will impact low-income people in our community as the budget process continues.

The information in this article was adapted from the California Budget Project brief on the Governor’s proposal. You can read the full report here: http://cbp.org/pdfs/2013/130110_Gov_Budget_Release.pdf.