Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin recently used his red pencil on the proposed budget bill to remove $980,000 from programs which provide services to women, children and families.
Specifically, he reduced the budget for the Children's Trust Fund, which funds child abuse prevention, from $300,000 to $220,000, a 26.7 percent reduction. He reduced the budget for in-home family education from $1,000,000 to $750,000, a 25 percent reduction.
The budget for the Family Resource Networks, which provides coordination among programs for the benefit of families, was slashed by 8.5 percent. He removed 357,900 from the budget for domestic violence centers and statewide prevention, which was a 14 percent reduction in their program money. Domestic violence victims were victimized again when he reduced the funding for legal services to victims by7 percent, or $30,000. Finally, he slashed $111, 908 from the Child Advocacy Centers.
What a clean sweep! Centers which serve domestic violence victims! Centers which serve abused children! Children who are at risk of abuse! Children who have special needs from birth! Families! Is there any vulnerable group he did not go after?
Many good agencies in Elkins will be hurting. A cut of $30,4000 from the Women's Aid in Crisis budget cannot be made up by asking for more from the United Way, by walk-a-thons, by selling chairs at the Forest Festival. And if all the agencies in Randolph County are doing it, the available fund will be spread even thinner.
I find this budget cutting is a misuse of the veto power. Both the Senate and the House of Delegates had supported this budget. It was the will of the people.
I would urge people to contact the governor and let him know that this is not an appropriate use of his power. He is the servant of all the people, including women and children.