January 3, 2012, 3:07 pm
The four nonprofit groups that stock food charities across Massachusetts are asking Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration to boost aid in the face of declining federal funds, higher food prices, and rising demand, according to the Boston Herald.
The groups, which serve hundreds of food pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens, are seeking $15-million in state support in fiscal year 2013, up from $11.5-million this year.
Reductions in Department of Agriculture food aid are set to worsen with the failure of the congressional “super committee” to reach an agreement on federal spending, said Catherine D’Amato, head of the Greater Boston Food Bank.
Advocates say state money, which has remained flat since 2007, has declined in value as the cost of staple foods has risen and demand has gone up by nearly a quarter.
Scott Soares, the state’s commissioner of agricultural resources, said the…
January 3, 2012, 2:55 pm
Continued welfare cutbacks in California are raising concerns among recipients who are seeing benefits reduced or eliminated while the bad economy depresses their prospects for getting off assistance and into jobs, says the Associated Press.
California has shrunk welfare payments, trimmed the period recipients can get aid from 60 to 48 months, and cut spending on job-training and education programs for people on welfare. Some Republican lawmakers have called for further cuts, saying the state can’t afford what has been one of the nation’s most generous welfare programs.
“By the time someone is on welfare for 48 months, I think they’re trained to be on that system,” said Assemblyman Brian Jones. “I think we need to make it more attractive in California to get folks off of welfare instead of onto it.”
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December 29, 2011, 11:01 am
Cutbacks in care, longer waits to see doctors, and restrictions on prescriptions await Medicaid patients in the new year as cash-strapped states seek to rein in health-care costs, the Associated Press reports.
Most states have adopted or are proposing new limits on benefits and reduced payments to doctors via the federal and state program to provide medical care to the poor and disabled.
Federal aid for the $427-billion program has thus far escaped from the congressional spending and deficit battles, but Arizona, California, Maine, New Jersey, and other states have enacted or are considering far-reaching reductions that have prompted protests and legal challenges from advocacy and doctors’ groups.
Six million people have joined the Medicaid rolls nationwide since the start of the economic downturn four years ago, pushing enrollment to more than 50 million. Federal stimulus…
December 29, 2011, 10:49 am
Government funds that routinely helped Ohio universities, arts and recreation centers, and community and social-service groups build and renovate facilities may dry up in the coming year as the state slashes its capital budget, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Likening the financing to the federal practice of earmarking funds for favored projects, Gov. John Kasich will send a vastly reduced capital budget for the next two fiscal years to state lawmakers in early 2012.
“We’ve just survived Ohio’s worst fiscal crisis in more than 200 years and we’re beginning to get back on track,” said Rob Nichols, a spokesman for the Republican governor. “Now’s simply not the time for non-essential repairs or other unrelated projects.”
The proposed budget allocates no state money for projects in the Cincinnati area, which routinely received $80-million to $90-million from capital…
December 28, 2011, 11:09 am
New York’s attorney general is reviewing more than 200 local development corporations across the state amid concerns about possible nepotism and financial improprieties by some groups, the Associated Press reports.
The nonprofit organizations take on development projects and other activities for local governments but face less oversight and are not subject to audits by the state comptroller, as are government agencies.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office released details of its examination of two such groups, the Multi-County Community Development Corporation and the affiliated Rehabilitation Support Services, which provide residential and community-based mental-health services.
The attorney general’s office questioned loans between the two groups, which receive significant proportions of their revenue from state coffers, and their ties to a for-profit company founded by…
December 20, 2011, 9:46 pm
Donations to Rhode Island’s largest homelessness charity have plunged since the organization publicly backed a controversial overhaul of the state’s pension system, the Providence Journal writes.
Crossroads Rhode Island says contributions dropped by $100,000 in October and November compared with the same months last year, a decline of more than 50 percent, said Karen Santilli, the charity’s vice president for marketing and development.
Crossroads was among several nonprofit groups that backed EngageRI, a business alliance that pushed for a pension overhaul. The state legislature last month approved a measure raising the retirement age for many state workers and suspending cost-of-living pension increases.
A local affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, which represents Rhode Island government employees, had urged its 1,000 members not to give to charities that…
December 20, 2011, 9:34 pm
As nonprofit groups and other nonstate entities step up to save California parks from the budget ax, some advocates are raising concerns over recreational facilities’ long-term financial needs and the potential for misuse when they are overseen by private hands, the San Francisco Chronicle writes.
Following the passage of a state law lowering hurdles for setting up public-private parks partnerships, nine of the 70 facilities California said it would close have been rescued by foundations, philanthropists, community organizations, and the federal government. Officials say the state is in talks with outside groups in connection with 27 other parks.
Jerry Emory, a spokesman for California State Parks Foundation, said his group is concerned “that Sacramento will see the philanthropic community stepping forward as a substitute for public funding” and eliminate money for parks altogether…
December 7, 2011, 4:28 pm
Editor’s Note: The following post was written by Janet Harman, president and founder of the KDK-Harman Foundation, a family foundation in Austin, Tex.
Education grant makers in Texas, as in most states, have largely avoided public-policy debates. But as state governments chisel away at spending on public education, we no longer have that luxury.
The KDK-Harman Foundation surveyed 54 representatives of education grant makers in Texas to gauge their concerns about the state’s schools. One of their biggest fears: the impact of massive budget cuts. That beat out even the perennial challenges of a sky-high dropout rate and concerns about accountability and testing.
For decades, foundations in Texas and nationally have worked with the state to support public education. Some of the…
November 30, 2011, 11:03 am
New Hampshire’s Supreme Court has ordered the state to pay $3.55-million to seven family-service charities, resolving a seven-year dispute over billing for residential child care, reports The Union Leader.
The court ruled last week that the state Division for Children, Youth, and Families ignored contractual obligations to cover rate increases for housing delinquent, abused, and other needy children in fiscal years 2004 through 2006.
Lisa Snow Wade, a lawyer for the nonprofit groups, said they are seeking similar repayment for 2007 through 2010 in separate proceedings.
Ms. Wade said that from 2004 state law required that care rates reflect “the reasonable actual costs of providing the services.” A lawyer for the state said it did not shift funds to cover the increases because New Hampshire legislators did not approve money to cover the rate hikes.
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November 30, 2011, 10:33 am
The governor has proposed cutting more than $690-million from health and human-service programs. The plan would shrink or eliminate state food and health-care subsidies, shelter programs, and support for people with disabilities, among other steps, according to The Spokesman-Review of Spokane.
Activists say poor people’s lack of political clout make such programs more vulnerable in tough budget times.
“Programs for the poor are often the first on the chopping block, because they’re an easy target,” said Jennifer Sherman, an assistant professor and poverty researcher at Washington State University. “But they’re the ones, in my opinion, who need protection the most.”
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