This week the House is deliberating on the fiscal year 2019 House Ways and Means budget proposal. Now is the time to act to make sure that essential public health funding is included in the FY19 budget.
Please contact your Representative TODAY and urge him or her to co-sponsor the important amendments listed below. Don’t forget to mention why the program or programs you are calling about are important to you.
To find your Representative’s contact information or to find out who your State Representative is, click here.
Preventing Chronic Disease through Healthy Food Access & Safe Spaces for Physical Activity
- Massachusetts Food Trust Program (Amend. #17) by Rep. Donahue.
The Massachusetts Food Trust will provide loans, grants, and technical assistance to support new and expanded healthy food retailers and local food enterprises in nutritionally underserved communities to increase healthy food access and spur economic growth. These funds will support program operations, outreach, and technical assistance, and leverage capital funds, which were released in early 2018.
- Mass in Motion (Amend. #746) by Rep. Schmid.
Mass in Motion, operating in more than 60 communities, is proven successful at reducing childhood obesity and preventing chronic disease by increasing opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity in schools and improving access to safe streets, parks, and playgrounds. Mass in Motion has improved healthy food access and created safe places for physical activities at more than 500 sites across the state. State funding leverages federal and private dollars.
- Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) (Amend. #188) by Rep. Kane and Rep. Donahue.
HIP provides some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable families with access to fresh, healthy, local foods, and helps to sustain Massachusetts farms by increasing their sales. In doing so, the Program improves health outcomes in low-income communities, supports the local economy, and helps to protect farmland and natural resources.
Connecting People to the Services & Opportunities Needed to Reach & Maintain Good Health
- Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) (Amend. #743) by Rep. Peake.
RTAs provide vital bus and paratransit rides in 251 MA communities. Many low-income people without access to vehicles as well as non-drivers, including youth and older adults, rely on the RTAs to connect them to resources and opportunities necessary to attain good health, including education, employment, healthy foods, and health care services. $88 million is needed to prevent drastic cuts in RTA service, which would exacerbate existing inequities.
The Massachusetts Senate will debate its budget in mid-May. After the Senate debates its budget, The House and Senate will appoint three members each to a “Conference Committee” to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate proposals.