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State Senator

Norm Needleman

Representing Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook

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Senator Needleman Lauds Democratic Budget’s Funding Of Meals On Wheels, Other Vital East Haddam Community Programs

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) today lauded the Democratic state budget approved by the Appropriations and Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committees earlier this month, citing specifically its increased funding for social service programs such as Meals on Wheels and similar programs across towns like East Haddam.

Meals on Wheels operates in communities across the state to address senior isolation and hunger. Every day, Meals on Wheels provides two meals a day to seniors above the age of 60 and individuals under 60 with medical conditions. The Democratic state budget increases funding for Meals on Wheels by $475,000 each year in the next two years. Further funded programs include mental health and medical programs which will receive grant funding.

“Meals on Wheels is a lifesaving program for many elderly people,” said Brad Parker, Senior Center Director and Municipal Agent for the town of East Haddam. “We are talking about seniors that, in most cases, are not physically able to fix their own meals. The delivery of these meals also serves as a wellness check for these homebound seniors. What kind of a society would we be if we can’t be sure that our seniors are fed and safe?”

“By increasing funding for Meals on Wheels, we give our senior populations additional security and not only retain but improve a program many people rely on for nutrition,” said Sen. Needleman. “Meals on Wheels isn’t just a delivery service but a lifeline for many people, and I wholly support this change from the Governor’s initially proposed budget.”

While the Democratic budget passed the Appropriations Committee and Finance Committee by last week’s mandated committee deadline, state Republicans failed to propose, submit, or vote on a state budget. With no budget, state Republicans have proposed $0 for community programs around the state and in the 33rd District.

The Democratic budget now awaits a vote by the full State Senate and full House of Representatives.

Other Highlights of the Democratic State Budget

Investing in Workforce Development

  • Provides greater funding than the Governor proposed for several workforce development programs including:
  • Jobs Funnel Programs ($632K each year)
  • Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative ($1.1 M each year)
  • Healthcare Apprenticeship Initiative ($500K each year)
  • Connecticut’s Youth Employment Program ($1 M each year)
  • Cradle to Career ($100K each year)
  • Pilot Re-Entry Program ($800K each year)
  • Veteran Machinists Training ($250K each year)

Advancing Education

  • Increases funding for K-12 education by tens of millions of dollars from FY 19 ($42 million in FY 20 & $80 million in FY 21)
  • Increases funding for community colleges from FY 19 ($8 million in FY 20 & $10 million in FY 21)

Other Investments

  • Funds services for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities including employment and day services for new high school graduates ($6.3 M in FY 20 and $14.6 M in FY 21) as well as individuals aging out of the Department of Children and Families and residential schools ($3 M in FY 20 and $5.7 M in FY 21)
  • Preserves funding for mental health and substance abuse grants ($1.6 M in each year)
  • Provides funding for caseload growth in the Birth to Three program ($1.4 M in FY 20 and $2 M in FY 21)
  • Includes funding for a new State Trooper Class in FY 20

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