New York lawmakers are negotiating a $227 billion budget this week, with Democrats pushing for additional funding to support anti-hunger programs and other safety net services. During the pandemic, New York received billions of dollars in federal aid to boost programs aimed at combating hunger for needy people, such as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). However, the aid for these programs, which expanded benefits, has ended.
State Assemblywoman Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas said that the state budget needs to provide support, and Democrats are calling for more funding to be added to the final deal.
Advocates are pushing for $280 million to fund universal school meals, a measure that has bipartisan support. During the pandemic, federal support provided universal school meals, but the funding is meant to replace this aid.
However, adding more benefits would also increase state spending, which is already at record levels this year. A budget is due to pass by Saturday, but as of Tuesday, most lawmakers do not expect a deal by then. Advocates demonstrated outside the governor’s office on Tuesday to call attention to the issue. Democrats hope to add more funding to the final budget deal to aid anti-hunger programs and other safety net services as the need continues.
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