Child advocates are beginning a campaign to convince Governor Tomblin to restore the cuts he made in his line-item veto of the state budget.
When he made his initial budget proposal to the legislature in January, the governor cut over one million dollars in funding for organizations that provide programs to address domestic violence, child abuse prevention, family resource centers, child advocacy centers and in home family education programs.
The legislature found the money to restore those cuts and fully fund the social service network. But Tomblin nixed the funding saying it was too costly.
During a teleconference call with advocates whose programs will be affected, Jim McKay, the state director of Prevent Child Abuse had harsh words for the governor.
“ 105 days ago we heard these words. ‘This is a year of tough financial choices for our state. Our budget is strained. However we must invest in our future, sow the seeds for tomorrow and invest in our children.’ It was Governor Tomblin who said those very words during his State of the State Address and yet two months later he used his line item veto to slash funding for several critical programs that support children and keep them safe in their homes. It’s critically important to remember that these cuts aren’t just figures on a spread sheet. These cuts are real. They will hurt families and kill jobs. These children who lose services are the ones who are paying the price to balance this budget. A budget that includes millions of dollars in tax credits for corporations and millions in subsidies for greyhounds and thoroughbred horses. We feel it is irresponsible to cut effective programs that affect children from abuse and yet, that’s the choice that’s been made.”
Child advocates say every dollar spent on children’s services returns $14 million in matching grants from the federal government and other resources.
The advocates say they’ve requested a meeting with Governor Tomblin so that they can convince him to restore the money during a special session of the legislature next month. They will meet with Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss and DHHR Secretary Karen Bowling on Friday.
Republican Lawmakers and the Our Children, Our Future Campaign will host a press conference to support restoring Early Childhood Budget Cuts, coinciding with Child Abuse Prevention Month in Morgantown on Friday.