Kyle: Haslam Should Reconsider Shoring Up Head Start, Meals on Wheels w/ State Funds

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Democratic Caucus; October 17, 2013:

NASHVILLE – Now that Gov. Haslam has changed his position on using state dollars to make up federal funds lost during Washington’s budget crises, state Sen. Jim Kyle urged Gov. Haslam to revisit his position to allow sequestration cuts that reduce the availability of services like Head Start and Meals on Wheels.

“The governor is to be congratulated for his efforts to shore up our tourism industry as our state faced a catastrophic loss of funding for national parks during the shutdown,” Sen. Kyle said. “However, thousands of Tennessee families are still going hungry because of Washington’s dysfunction, and I am calling on the governor to take another look at the impact of cuts to Head Start and Meals on Wheels.

Several programs for the poor have steadily lost federal funding this year because of the sequestration cuts. Meals on Wheels has lost at least $1 million, and 1,200 children have lost seats in Head Start programs.

Last year, Gov. Haslam said he was unequivocally against using state dollars to make up the difference. On Nov. 20, he told the Nashville City Paper:

“In most of those cases when the federal money is taken away, the program that it’s funding will go away as well because we just literally, don’t have the state dollars to come in and replace all those federal dollars,” Haslam said.

“Now that the governor has changed his position, state leaders have a duty to working families and retired veterans who will continue to suffer due to Washington’s dysfunction, even after the shutdown ends,” Sen. Kyle said. “I am calling on the governor to revisit these programs and change his position.”