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Fill the Plate with Your Message to Protect and Strengthen State Nutrition Programs!

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Fill the Plate with Your Message to Protect and Strengthen State Nutrition Programs!

An overtime special session started on Monday in Olympia. The Legislature has 30 days to come to an agreement on our state budget to send to Gov. Inslee to sign into law. At this point, the differences between the Senate and House budgets are vast. The Senate budget does not add any revenue and so it proposes a little over $500 million in improvements to our basic education system and makes deep cuts to critical support programs that help low-income families meet their basic needs. Even though the Senate budget makes a wise investment of restoring $9.4 million to the State Food Assistance Program, a program that provides food stamp benefits to legally residing immigrants who cannot qualify for federal assistance under welfare reform laws, that investment will be undermined by the deep cuts to other programs that will force families to choose between paying for food or for other basic necessities.

The House budget adds $900 million in revenue by closing certain out-dated tax preferences, giving the budget the flexibility it needs to make a significant payment for basic education improvements and avoid many of the cuts to critical support programs proposed in the Senate. However, the House budget fails to restore funds to the State Food Assistance Program and does not provide funds to rebuild our state’s Farm to School and Small Farms Direct Marketing programs that were eliminated in the last biennium’s budget. Neither the House or the Senate budget cuts nor adds funds to the Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) to help food banks, but we want to make sure that legislators continue to look for opportunities to provide relief to overwhelmed food banks by increasing EFAP if possible and protect the program from cuts if no agreement can be made on revenue.

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