Opponents of Tomblin’s cuts said many of these programs have seen cuts in prior years or have not had any funding increases for years, while the cost of services and the increase in the number of families needing assistance has continued to rise, making it impossible to serve as many families and children.
Organizers hope the May 20 vigil will serve as a visible peak to what they say is a growing wave of momentum to have the cuts restored.
— On April 23, press outlets across the state published stories based on a Report released about the cuts by the Our Children, Our Future Campaign, in partnership with the WV Center on Budget and Policy. The report revealed that cuts could jeopardize $14 million in short-term, leveraged dollars from federal programs and private contributions.
— On April 24, it was learned that the state’s $250,000 cut to In-Home Family Education program would constitute a violation of the state’s contract with the federal government – putting at-risk $1 million in federal matching funds.
— On April 25, eight Republican lawmakers, including House Education Minority Chair Amanda Pasdon, R-Monongalia, and Senate Minority Leader Mike Hall, R-Putnam, urged the Governor to restore the cuts – citing that the programs represented a “hand-up” out of poverty, not a “handout.”
— Also on April 25, leaders from the Our Children, Our Future Campaign met with Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss and DHHR Secretary Karen Bowling. While the Governor has not yet added the Early Childhood Cuts to a possible special session, Secretaries Kiss and Bowling pledged to work with advocates to search for ways to restore the funding.
Smith expects women lawmakers to join together on Tuesday to add their voices to the effort at the Capitol.
Smith said groups interested in attending the rally and vigil in Charleston, should register at www.ourchildrenourbudget.eventbrite.com. For more information about vigil or the Our Children, Our Future Campaign, they can visit www.wvhealthykids.org or contact =Smith at [email protected] or 304.610.6512.