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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Congress gives states extra funding

Erin Kelly

Staff Writer

Much like families around the country, states need to balance their budgets, too. If they spend too much on one program, they can’t afford another. And if they don’t take in enough revenue, they don’t have the money to spend. That’s what states are currently struggling with: Since the economic downturn, states have been raking in less cash and have had to explore options to balance their budget—which oftentimes has meant slashing programs that serve the people who most need the help.

Congress recognized that states were in need and has been working hard for the past few months to ensure that these programs will receive adequate funding. Last week, the Senate passed legislation and this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called representatives back from August recess to Washington to vote on increased funding that will offer additional assistance to states to balance their budgets and provide vital services to their citizens.

And it looks like the trip was worth it: On Monday, the House passed $25 billion in funding for state programs like Medicaid and teachers’ salaries.

Without this funding, states would have to lay off teachers, firefighters, and police officers in order to make ends meet. Now, American families can go to sleep with peace of mind, knowing that their state-paid jobs are secure. 

In times like these, it’s more important than ever to make sure these programs have enough funding. With the economic downturn, millions of Americans have lost their jobs, as well as their health insurance. More people than ever depend on safety net programs like Medicaid to ensure that they will be able to see a doctor without going bankrupt. Increased pressure on these programs, coupled with decreased tax revenue has really left states in a tight spot. This bill takes a big step in the right direction.