The NC General Assembly has been in session the first six days of their short session. Legislators are fast at work adjusting the state budget. Numerous advocates have held lobbying days and have flooded legislators with their concerns about emerging budget details.
If we are going to protect North Carolina's pregnancy prevention gains, it's critical that legislators hear from you now. Our Public Education Director Patricia Yancey has prepared the following update and action alert for North Carolina's prevention advocates.
Budget Proposals: Mixed News for Prevention Programs
This week, House of Representatives’ appropriations subcommittees “rolled out” and approved spending proposals that make adjustments to year 2012-13 of the biennial budget that the NC General Assembly approved last year. Next Tuesday,the House Appropriations Committee will vote on the compiled budget, which will then go on to the full membership of the House of Representatives.
The funding for teen pregnancy prevention as currently included in the House’s budget proposal crafted by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services is as follows:
- GOOD: $2.5 million in funding from federal TANF Block grant funds for pregnancy prevention ($1.5 million that will go to local projects and $1 million that will go to local health departments).
- GOOD: 650,000 in Maternal & Child Health Block Grant funds for pregnancy prevention programs and initiatives.
- BAD: $450,000 cut in federal TANF Block grant funds for pregnancy prevention. From what we can determine, this cut will mean that eight local pregnancy prevention projects will have to be cut or not funded. The current 58 pregnancy prevention projects will be reduced to 50 projects. At one time, there were 71 local projects in the state and that number was reduced to 58 over the years. The overall program has never recouped the funding that was lost after the last time cuts were made forcing a reduction in local projects. The proposal to cut the TANF funds for teen pregnancy prevention came from the Department of Health and Human Services. The cut represents a 16.1% decrease in funding for local pregnancy prevention projects.
In the past, the amount appropriated to teen pregnancy prevention has totaled $3.9 million, which includes both state and federal funding. The funding from the federal TANF Block Grant has totalled $2.9 million. The TANF Block Grant was cut at the federal level and those cuts have had a ripple effect for North Carolina.
What Advocates Must Do
It's critical for advocates to contact legislators now to thank them for the good programs they've included in the budget and to stress the damage the proposed cuts will do to North Carolina's young people, families, and communities.
Please share these key messages before Tuesday:
- Thank elected and state officials for including the funding that has been historically included in the budget for teen pregnancy prevention.
- Highlight the $450,000 cut in TANF funding and stress the need for the additional funding – noting that typically, when prevention funding is reduced, pregnancy rates tend to go up. North Carolina has done a great job in reducing the rate of teen pregnancy and a state goal has been set for the first time ever to further reduce teen pregnancy 30 % by the year 2020.
- Preventing and reducing teen pregnancies saves the state money
- Preventing and reducing teen pregnancies saves the disruption that takes place in the life of a young person, their family, and the community when there is a teen pregnancy or birth.
Who to Contact
The following state officials and members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services need to hear from you:
Governor Beverly Perdue
Office of the Governor
Phone: (919) 733-5811
Albert Delia, Acting Secretary
Department of Health and Human Services
Rep. Justin P. Burr (R) (Chairperson)
B: 704-983-4663 (Montgomery, Stanly, Union)
Rep. Marilyn Avila (R) (Chairperson)
H: 919-280-6084 (Wake)
Rep. William D. Brisson (D) (Vice-chairman)
B: 910-862-7007 (Bladen, Cumberland )
Rep. William A. Current, Sr. (R)
O: (919) 733-5809
O: (704) 864-0337 (Gaston)
Rep. Beverly Earle (D)
O: (919) 715-2530
O: (704) 333-7180 (Mecklenburg)
Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield (D)
B: 252-237-1506 (Edgecombe, Wilson)
Rep. Mark Hollo (R ) (Vice-chairman)
O: (919) 715-8351
O: (828) 632-1728 (Alexander, Catawba)
Rep. Verla Insko (D)
H: 919-929-6115 (Orange)
Rep. Bert Jones (R)
B: 336-342-6171 (Rockingham)
Rep. Tom Murry (R) (Vice-chairman)
B: 919-865-9993 (Wake)
Rep. Diane Parfitt (D)
B: 910-864-2427 (Cumberland )