As many of you know last week it came down to the wire but the final state budget was passed. Nutrition First along with our coalition partners including the Children’s Alliance, Good Food Coalition and the Anti-Hunger and Nutrition Coalition successfully fought long and hard to protect vital programs for low income families and children in our state.
The final budget:
-Preserves the Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program for WIC and Seniors FMNP (which was eliminated in the Governor’s budget), though at an expected 40% decrease in funding level for this summer.
-Protects Apple Health for Kids and provides $1 million in enrollment assistance to help make sure eligible kids are connected to the care they need.
– Maintains State Food Assistance for 12,500 kids with no additional cuts. This program that provides food stamps to legal, documented immigrants who are otherwise ineligible for federal food benefits has been slated for elimination in the last two years. Though the program was not eliminated, there will be a 50% cut in in benefit levels for SFA clients.
-Preserves School meals and Emergency Food Assistance Programs for Food Banks which were not impacted in this budget.
Nutrition First and our partners were also successful in encouraging new revenue to support the safety net and other critical state services. The Legislature will be ending tax loopholes for out-of-state banks and raise an estimated $12 million from a new tax on roll your own cigarette machines.
Thank you to all of you who responded to our action alerts and contacted your legislators or visited Olympia in person to fight for these programs. We encourage anyone who wants to become further involved in advocacy to contact Nutrition First to learn more.