Wilmington, DE – A coalition of grassroots groups will deliver letters today to the Wilmington offices of U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons that call on them to make the right choices for Delaware’s families, including job creation, an increase in the federal minimum wage, and protection of Medicare and Medicaid. The coalition includes 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Americans for Democratic Action, the Newark branch of the NAACP, the Delaware branch of the National Organization for Women and the Delaware State AFL-CIO.
As Congress considers urgent budget decisions over the next several weeks, the letter makes clear the group’s top concerns: “Our highest priority is job creation and economic growth, and not devastating cuts that will cripple our recovery. The best way to reduce the deficit is to put people back to work and accelerate our recovery.”
If the federal government instead allows scheduled across-the-board cuts under the so-called fiscal cliff, Delaware’s already struggling economy will get even worse.
Delaware will lose jobs: 40 Head Start workers stand to lose their jobs due to cuts in Head Start funding; 28 education jobs will be lost as a result of cuts to Title I Grants, and 350 Special Education jobs will no longer be supported by federal funding.
Public services to vulnerable populations will be cut: 194 fewer children in Delaware will be served by Head Start, 285 fewer children will receive Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) services, and 162 fewer Delaware veterans will be served due to cuts to Veterans Employment and Training.
Moreover, some proposals to avoid the fiscal cliff would slash core programs like Medicaid and Medicare, which would cause job losses in Delaware, harm the state economy and threaten vital services to vulnerable populations. If federal Medicaid funding to states was cut by 5%, Delaware would lose an estimated $87,455,000 in potential business activity. These cuts would result in 630 job losses in Delaware alone.
Cuts to Medicaid would also limit access to healthcare for people in our state: In Delaware, 198,700 people were enrolled in Medicaid in June 2011. Because more than 95% of Medicaid costs are used toward health benefits, even minor cuts to Medicaid would result in loss of benefits, services, and access for the most vulnerable populations, especially in a time when more people are accessing Medicaid. And cuts to Medicaid would result in shortfalls in the Delaware state budget. A 5% cut in federal Medicaid spending would reduce Delaware’s Medicaid budget by an estimated $45,467,000.
With state budgets are already overextended, the loss of federal funding will result in a shortfall in the state’s budget, making a slow economic recovery even worse.
Tax proposals that could make these cuts unnecessary would affect only a small number of the wealthiest people in Delaware. Proposals to end the Bush-era tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 per year would provide roughly $829 billion in revenue over the next ten years—money that could be used invested to prevent job-killing budget cuts. Ending tax breaks for those making more than $250,000 would affect only 1.9% of people in Delaware.
With more than 120,000 members in nine states, including 10,000 in Philadelphia and Delaware, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property services union in the country.