Local activists protest a plan to reduce funding to social programs

Local News

Local progressive activists are decrying a plan by the Trump administration that could ultimately lead to many poor people losing their eligibility for social programs.

Citizen Action held a discussion today inside United Presbyterian Church in Binghamton to protest an expected move by the federal office of Management and Budget to change the way it calculates the affect of inflation when determining the federal poverty line.

The fear is that the new method will suppress rises in the poverty threshold which currently sits at around $12,500 annually.

If income gains by the poor outpace increases in the poverty line, some poor people could lose eligibility for food stamps, low-income housing, Medicaid and other government programs.

Reverend Kimberly Chastain says there are a number of reasons to be outraged by this move.

Chastain says, “One of them is about the actual condition of the people that we serve everyday, and about the moral condition of the people making the decisions. Because we have changed the way we view poverty over the last I don’t know how many decades so that it’s now seen as a moral failing and a problem to be punished, rather than a problem to be solved.”

Representatives of Action For Older Persons and the Southern Tier Independence Center were also at today’s meeting.

Citizen Action encourages opponents to speak out against the proposed move by contacting the White House.

A public comment period ends Friday.

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