BOSTON (WWLP) – The largest auditorium of the State House was open to the public Monday. People from across Massachusetts had five minutes each to plead with state lawmakers to adequately fund services that many depend on.
Disability Policy Consortium’s Colin Killick told the state legislature’s Ways and Means Committee, “they have nowhere to go and you have the power to help these people. You have the power to give them hope and dignity.”
Massachusetts residents who qualify for food stamps are finding themselves cut off or denied their benefits after the State Department of Transitional Assistance switched over to an automated system. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts testified that client documents and renewal forms are not being properly reviewed by the DTA. They are asking the state to update the system because many families are losing benefits without notice and millions of federal tax dollars to pay for food stamps are going unclaimed.
“The state of Massachusetts is currently losing nine and a half million dollars every month that could be coming into our Commonwealth from the federal government,” said the Food Bank’s Christina Maxwell.
More than one hundred people signed up to testify before the state legislature’s Ways and Means Committee. Springfield Democrat Benjamin Swan told22 News in tough fiscal times, many difficult decisions have to be made.
“You know that the programs are critically needed, but you know also that you can’t afford them all and that’s the part that’s somewhat discouraging.”
No new fees or taxes are included in the FY16 state budget. The House Ways and Means Committee expects to release their budget proposal on Wednesday.