Government funded programs at risk

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) — Another deadline nears for Congress. And this time around, it's not about taxes.  Automatic spending cuts are threatening programs.

In less than 10 days, $1 trillion in automatic reductions are set to kick in, after a bi-partisan super committee failed to find the cuts in 2011.  Now voters fear a deadlock in Congress.

“I think it's terrible, I think we should be able to find the money for these programs. There are people that will be affected drastically,” said Mark Reinhold in Northampton Wednesday.

In Massachusetts, programs funded by the federal government, like defense, heating assistance and supplemental nutrition for women and infants are at risk.

Governor Patrick says Community Development Grants could also be reduced by close to $30 million.  Those grants help fund programs like Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Hampshire County.

“Many years ago we were getting three times what we are getting now from the city of Northampton and the town of Amherst as well. This year we are being funded, I'm not sure we are being funded next year,” said program director Renee Moss.

Moss told 22News less federal money has led to a reduction in staff and the number children they serve.  Not to mention the 200 children who are waiting to get into the program; many of whom will age out before they get a mentor. 

Moss says she's now competing with schools to raise money in the community. They hope two upcoming fundraisers will help them put up the $110,000 needed to keep the current staff and case manager hours.

“I think it's very important that Congress pays attention to that. As our elected officials, they have to understand that we need as many supplementary services for our families in need as is possible,” said Mary Ann Shipman of Huntington.

For more information on how these cuts could affect manufacturers in the state click here.

Copyright 2014 WWLP TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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