The special legislative session is slated to end mid-April and members of the House and Senate continue to work together to reconcile a budget to send to the governor for her signature.
Creating new sources of revenue is critical to reducing cuts to hunger relief and other safety net programs, and support for new revenue is one of the AHNC’s top legislative priorities. To date, only the House budget includes new revenue to offset harmful cuts. The House revenue package is part of how the proposed House budget is able to find funding for the Coalition’s legislative priorities, including State Food Assistance, and other health and safety net services, and it’s why we’ve asked you to be vocal in your support for the House budget. Yet the Senate has been unwilling to close loopholes and create new revenue.
Now lawmakers from both the House and Senate are looking at enacting an accounting change to save $238 million. More information on the specifics can be found in this Seattle Times article: http://seattletimes.
If the accounting change is made, there is still $90 million needed to cover the health and safety net priorities in the Murray and Hunter budgets. While an accounting change may save the state millions of needed dollars, it is not a new source of revenue. Without a new, long-term, stable source of revenue, lawmakers risk having to make harmful cuts to programs every year.
Action: Please call your lawmakers and ask them to support closing loopholes and creating new revenue sources to preserve the safety net and stabilize our state budget – now and for the future.
Federal update – Earlier this week we sent an action alert urging you to support the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by contacting lawmakers in DC and urging a “NO” vote on a proposal designed by the House Budget Committee Chair, Rep. Paul Ryan, for the 2013 federal budget. Among other devastating changes, this proposal calls for cutting $123 billion from food stamps by restructuring the program into a block grant. Anti-hunger and anti-poverty advocates are deeply opposed to making SNAP a block grant to states because that means the federal government would give each state a lump sum of money with a few guidelines so that states can design their local rules for eligibility, application processes, and dispensing food stamps that could limit access. Just as important, block grants can run out in times of great need and eligible people can go hungry because there isn’t money left in the program.
Yesterday lawmakers in the House passed the Ryan Budget. Next it will move to the Senate, where it is expected it will not come to a vote because of Senate opposition to these drastic changes.
For more information on how the Ryan budget would impact jobs and food security at the local level, check out this article on potential impacts to our neighbors in Yakima: http://www.examiner.com/
Action (Federal) – Show Your Support for SNAP in the Farm Bill
In addition to the annual budget process, SNAP can also be subject for redesign in the 2012 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill funds and governs SNAP and is reauthorized every 5 years; in the past, it’s been an opportunity to make the program more effective, more efficient and meet more people’s needs. To ensure that the next Farm Bill maintains the policies and structure that has made SNAP so effective over the past few years, our friends at the Food Research and Action Center have put together a letter that willgo to each member of our Congressional delegation. Please sign your organization onto this letter by April 6 :
AHNC Membership Meeting: Tuesday April 10th (2:30-4:30pm) at NW Harvest Kent Warehouse 22220 W. Valley Hwy. Kent, WA 98032
WithinReach Annual Luncheon: April 25th
Northwest Harvest Annual Meeting: June 1st