Frosh Joins Coalition Opposing Changes to SNAP Benefits

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today joined a coalition of 24 Attorneys General opposing proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The SNAP program provides people with limited incomes access to nutritious food. As previously reported on Conduit Street, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed changes to the SNAP program that would put over 50,000 Marylanders at risk for losing the benefit. The most vulnerable include seniors and children. The…

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Federal Budget Continuing Resolution Hits County Programs

Following weeks of debate over a possible Federal Government shut down, on Thursday Congress passed the 2011 Continuing Resolution (CR) for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year.  The budget compromise trims $38 billion from the current operating budget, with particularly deep cuts to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. Funding for the CDBG was cut from $3.9 billion to $3.3 billion, a 16% cut from the FY 2010 level. The National Association of Counties (NACo) has been closely following the federal budgetary actions and its implications on local government funding levels. Below is an analysis provided by NACo of the impact the Federal CR has on county government programs.

Agriculture and Rural Affairs:
Part of the resolution funds USDA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), at nearly $20 billion, which is a decrease of almost $3 billion or 14% below the FY 2010 funding level. FDA received $2.3 billion, which is a 4%  increase above FY 2010. At this level the FDA can only fund some of the Food Safety Modernization Act, P.L. 111-353. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is funded at $1.01 billion, a 1% cut.

USDA Rural Development programs, which directly fund county infrastructure and development efforts, received significant cuts.  Housing and Community Programs, funding is $1.2 billion in budget authority, which is below the FY 2010 level of $1.4 billion. Rural Business and Energy Programs received $128 million – a devastating cut  31% below the FY 2010 level of $185 million. Rural Utilities Programs such as broadband, water and wastewater infrastructure received more modest cuts. The CR provides $598 million or 8% below the FY 2010 level of $653 million, but 25% above the original budget plan.
HUD Programs:
In addition to the CDBG reductions, The HOME Investment Partnership program is reduced from $1.8 billion to $1.6 billion for FY 2011. The Obama Administration’s Sustainable Communities Initiative, receives $100 million, a $50 million cut from the FY 2010 level. Homeless housing assistance grants are funded at increase of $40 million, $1.9 billion including $225 million for the Emergency Solutions Grant program. The HOPE VI program receives $100 million, a 50 percent cut from FY 2010 level of $200 million. The Section 8 voucher program is funded at $18.4 billion, with $16.7 billion for tenant-based voucher renewals, and $50 million is included for HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers.

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