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Nonprofits say closing loopholes could stave off budget cuts

Posted September 17, 2013

— Triangle-area nonprofits said Tuesday that Congress should look at closing tax loopholes and exemptions instead of enacting another round of federal budget cuts next month.

Congress has two weeks to reach a budget deal before the 2014-15 federal fiscal year starts Oct. 1. If no deal is reached, the next round of sequestration cuts kicks in, reducing federal spending across the board on domestic and defense programs.

A coalition of local food banks and programs that serve children or senior citizens said last spring's sequestration cuts made it difficult for them to provide services to North Carolina families. Domestic discretionary spending is already at 1950s levels, and donations are down because of the lingering effects of the recession, they said.

Meals on Wheels of Wake County, which delivers 1,300 meals a day to home-bound residents, had to cut 12,000 meals from its budget because of sequestration, director Alan Winstead said.

"Two out of three (recpients) live at or below the poverty level, their average age is 77 and more than one half of them live alone," Winstead said.

Likewise, food pantries have been cut, even as high unemployment has sent demand skyrocketing. Head Start and early childhood programs are serving fewer families.

"We know firsthand that we cannot cut our way to prosperity through another round of devastating sequestration," said Laura Benson, executive director of Durham's Partnership for Children.

Alan Winstead, director of Meals on Wheels of Wake County Service agencies fear new round of federal cuts

Allan Freyer, a policy analyst with the left-leaning North Carolina Budget & Tax Center, said Congress should look for a more balanced approach to a balanced budget. Eliminating tax loopholes and exemptions that benefit the wealthiest individuals and corporations could provide the government with $1 trillion, hy said, and take the burden of balancing the budget off the most vulnerable citizens.

"Seventy-five percent of all the deficit reduction we've done since 2011 has happened in programs just like this," Freyer said. "They are at the lowest level since the 1950s. It seems to me that there's not much more that we can ask of them."

Ernest Chavis, 73, said he doesn't know how he will survive if Meals on Wheels is forced to cut back its services. The Raleigh resident gets a meal delivered to his doorstep every Monday through Friday.

"It means a whole lot, a whole lot to elderly people my age and older. It means a whole lot," Chavis said. "Hope they don't cut it. We'd be in pretty bad shape."

29 Comments

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  • btneast Sep 18, 2:17 p.m.

    In reading some of these comments It's sad to see how cold hearted many in our country have become.

    I am guessing they do not realize that Meals on Wheels clients are almost all elderly people that can't get out......99% of the people getting meals from them are truly unable to fend for themselves. Once they have an elderly parent in that situation and get a reality check, their tune will change.

  • xylem01 Sep 18, 1:55 p.m.

    Pedro, you have my vote!

  • Vote for Pedro Sep 18, 11:02 a.m.

    Meals on Wheels is a truly wonderful charity. I've help make some deliveries, the people I meet were in need and very appreciative. In reading some of these comments It's sad to see how cold hearted many in our country have become.

  • hazeyc Sep 18, 10:31 a.m.

    It seems to me that many of the budget cuts in any form, no medicaid expansion, cut-off unemployed, cuts to safety net programs, etc. are a war on the poor. And they will die from it.

    All the while we see many reports how the rich are getting richer. To what end - so they can have another yacht?

    It's the trickle up theory that's at work here. All the minions money trickles up to the rich in higher than needs to be gas/oil prices, bank's that nickle and dime you on fees and penalties, credit cards that bleed you dry with interest and penalties, etc.

  • btneast Sep 18, 10:18 a.m.

    Because he lived 500 miles away and did not want to leave his house to live with us

    My in laws that will eventually be moving in with me live 650 miles away, and they don't want to leave their house either....but the only other option is a nursing home, which they want even less.

  • crshann Sep 18, 9:30 a.m.

    Response to btneast: Because he lived 500 miles away and did not want to leave his house to live with us. You seem to ignore the fact that not everyone can uproot their loved ones to come live with them and programs such as Meals on Wheels provide local resources to help those seniors.

  • btneast Sep 18, 9:18 a.m.

    My 84 y/o father in law depended on Meals on Wheels for his luncheon and dinner or else he didn't eat. Do you really think that he was capable of finding a job?

    Why weren't you feeding him? I am looking into moving both my father in law and mother in law in with us to prevent such a situation.....not something I want to do, and it will be a financial struggle, but I will do it anyway.

  • crshann Sep 18, 8:56 a.m.

    "Get a job. Wish a van would drive by an feed me everyday for free." - Scott34

    Scott, if ignorance and stupidity were bliss, you would be the happiest person on earth. My 84 y/o father in law depended on Meals on Wheels for his luncheon and dinner or else he didn't eat. Do you really think that he was capable of finding a job? Next time think before you make such an obvious ignorant comment.

  • AliceBToklas Sep 18, 8:26 a.m.

    Cutting all social programs completely would save tons of money. Maybe it is time for the useless and lazy to get up, get out and get jobs. I'm sick of feeding them
    --A person

    And I'm sick of hearing comments like this from the ill informed. There are very many people who cannot work, even though they would love to be able to. They are not all slackers or lazy.

  • ILoveDowntownRaleigh Sep 17, 6:59 p.m.

    "Get a job. Wish a van would drive by an feed me everyday for free." - scott34

    "Cutting all social programs completely would save tons of money. Maybe it is time for the useless and lazy to get up, get out and get jobs. I'm sick of feeding them" - aperson

    "We need across the board cuts. Long past due." - aspenstreet1717

    Wow. These folks are just full of carefully considered solutions to mankind's problems.

    :-) Good thing we don't have to bring religion into this discussion, or these folks would need to explain how their plan is going to affect the poor - to the Guy in the Sky!

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