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Budget Hearings for FY2013 State Budget and Nutrition Programs; Upcoming Training and Meeting

House and Senate Ways and Means have just announced the schedule of hearings for the FY2013 state budget including the dates and locations for testimony from the various state agencies. The hearings start this Friday, Feb 17th, and continue through Friday, March 9th - which is the last date for public testimony. House and Senate members of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means preside over the hearings with each date focused on a cluster of state agencies and affirmative presentations by those agency heads.  Attached is a list with all the hearing details.  

Note that at many of the hearings around the state, Ways and Means Committee members often takes testimony from the public, both in writing and oral testimony if time permits following the presentations by the various state agencies listed. Your oral or written testimony need not fall under the topic of the state agency listed to be submitted at these local hearings. However, we also encourage you to email or snail mail your written testimony to House and Senate Ways and Means leadership as well as the House and Senate members who sit on key Committees, such as Elder Affairs, Children and Families, etc. 

Attached is testimony from the Coalition in support of the SEIU budget request seeking a $10M increase in DTA Administrative funding for front line staff to handle the surge in the SNAP caseload. This specific budget ask was discussed and supported at the January 24th Coalition meeting.  In addition to supporting an increase in DTA admin for front line staff, Coalition members also support adequate funding of the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program (MEFAP), the state WIC supplement and the state funding for the Elder Nutrition Program. Note that the Governor's FY2013 proposed budget includes a cut of $1.5M for the Elder Nutrition Program, which would end up cutting over 240,000 meals. Talk about hurting Mom AND her apple pie !!  See recent Globe article for more on the Elder Nutrition Program and impact of that cut.  http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/02/11/gover... 

As we get more details on the state budget campaigns to protect these nutrition benefits and safety net programs we will share them with Coalition members. 

UPCOMING EVENTS: 

The next meeting of the Food SNAP Coalition in Tuesday, February 27th in Boston (St Francis House, 39 Boylston Street, 6th Floor). An agenda will be sent as we get closer to the meeting but will include an update on the state and federal budgets, recent activities in the legislature (EBT Commission, proposals on drug testing, purchase restrictions) and policy updates on the SNAP program.

The next Basic Benefits Training, Immigrants and Public Benefits is Thursday, March 8th in Boston.  This day long session is dedicated to teaching you the basics on immigration status, documents and a presentation on the benefits and restrictions affecting immigrant-headed households (food, cash, health, housing).  For more information and to register, go to: http://www.mcle.org/program-calendar/program-catalog.cfm?product_code=21...

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