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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Prosperity Works Joins National Effort to Oppose Federal Budget Cuts

As Congress works to meet the April 8 deadline for a final budget deal for the fiscal year 2011, Prosperity Works will join direct service providers and advocates from around the country in Washington, DC to warn Congress about the impact of cuts that threaten economic security for families and elders. The groups will meet with Representatives Heinrich, Lujan and Pierce as part of a three-day organizing meeting hosted by Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) -- a national organization that works to achieve economic independence for families.  

During the meeting, groups will also discuss a new report and measure for family economic security. The national Basic Economic Security Tables (BEST), to be released during the meeting, calculates the monthly income necessary for families to cover their basic expenses, including child care, housing, health care, and transportation, and prepare for the future, including saving for emergencies, home ownership, education and retirement. The report will provide new details on the role public programs for housing, child care and health care play in helping families make ends meet.  

“The House budget will hurt job growth and weaken the already tenuous ability of thousands of New Mexican families and seniors to make ends meet,” said Ona Porter, President and CEO of Prosperity Works. “Cutting off the very programs that are helping families and seniors stay afloat is a short-sighted move that will stall our economic recovery as well as jeopardize the well being of families .

Leading economists are projecting a loss of 700,000 jobs nationwide if the most recent House spending bill for fiscal year 2011 (HR1) is enacted. The bill includes $61 billion in cuts, including billions of dollars in cuts to job training, education, elder assistance programs, such as:

  • $3.8 billion in cuts to Workforce Investment Act training programs, which have served 8 million people and place more than half of them in jobs in the past year;

  • Cuts to Head Start, special education (IDEA) and schools in low-income communities, which derail education programs and eliminate an estimated 72,000 jobs; 

  • 44 percent cut to the Community Services Block Grant program, which provides nutrition, employment, health and other necessary services to over 20 million low-income people, including 5 million children, 2.3 million seniors and 1.7 million people with disabilities through 1,065 community action agencies nationwide;

  • Cuts to Low-Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which millions of families depend on to stay warm in winter;

  • 67 percent cut to the Section 202 senior housing program, which already has a two-year waiting list for seniors in need of affordable housing.  

“Job training programs are helping get millions of Americans back to work, and housing, heating and food assistance programs are helping support the millions more who have not been able to find a new jobs,” said Ona Porter. “We need Congress to focus on a budget solution that helps grow, not undercut the middle class.”

March 31, 2011 at 03:38 PM in Children and Families, Economy, Populism, Education, Healthcare, Housing, Jobs, NM Congressional Delegation, Senior Citizens, Women's Issues | Permalink