NO. R-156. Joint resolution urging the federal government not to reduce funding for critical federal programs serving all Vermonters.
Offered by: Representatives Pugh of S. Burlington, Kiss of Burlington, Larson of Burlington, O’Donnell of Vernon and Pillsbury of Brattleboro.
Whereas, the federal government is an essential partner in the state of Vermont’s efforts to serve and maintain healthy communities, support working Vermonters, and protect our state’s most vulnerable citizens, and
Whereas, federal entitlement programs and their vital discretionary spending components comprise the safety net that enables working Vermonters earning less than a living wage and our most vulnerable citizens to afford basic and essential housing, food, heat, and medical care, and
Whereas, the proposed fiscal year 2006 reductions in these essential federal programs’ funding will increase the already growing population of homeless and hungry Vermonters, and
Whereas, the federal programs targeted for reduction, including block grants for community and economic development, nutritional support assistance, adult education, youth and children’s services, affordable housing, and emergency human service programs, affect all Vermonters, and
Whereas, especially difficult for the state of Vermont is the planned $12.5 million reduction in the federal contribution to the state’s Medicaid expenses which will further exacerbate the serious financial difficulties that Medicaid faces in Vermont, and
Whereas, the Medicaid reduction is only one of many federal cuts that will prove devastating to the Vermonters who rely on the essential programs these federal funds support, and
Whereas, proposals to change the entitlement aspect of federal human service and community support programs will undercut their ability to respond to increased needs when national or local economic conditions deteriorate or disasters occur, and
Whereas, Vermont’s state and local budgets are already stretched too thin, and they are not in a position to assume the slack that will be created should the proposed federal funding reductions be implemented, and
Whereas, local charitable organizations are already struggling to meet the basic requirements of Vermont’s needy families now facing hunger and poverty, and
Whereas, many needy families currently confront extremely heart‑wrenching decisions as they must often choose whether to purchase sufficient food for a week, pay the rent bill, fill a medical prescription, or pay for transportation costs required for work and traveling to other important destinations, such as medical appointments, and
Whereas, these families are ill equipped to absorb the proposed cuts to their federal benefits, now therefore be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:
That the General Assembly thanks Vermont’s congressional delegation for its continuing efforts to promote and preserve federal programs that ensure basic human needs, and be it further
Resolved: That the General Assembly urges the governor to work through the New England Governors’ Conference and the National Governors’ Association to assure the programs vital to Vermonters are not harmed in the federal budget process, and that Vermonters continue to receive at least the current level of federal personal and community support services, and be it further
Resolved: That the General Assembly will ensure a full accounting of the impact on the state of Vermont of these federal budget cuts in budgetary and human terms, and be it further
Resolved: That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the president, the governor, and the members of the Vermont Congressional Delegation.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street