February 17, 2011
Community Groups Balk at Cuts in Obama's Budget
By Pamela M. Prah, Staff Writer
BUDGET BACKLASH: Social-service providers and some lawmakers expressed outrage at portions of President Obama's fiscal 2012 budget that would slash funds for programs that assist the working poor, help the needy heat their homes and rehabilitate foreclosed houses. Officials in Connecticut , Delaware , Massachusetts , Michigan , New Jersey , Ohio , Oregon and Rhode Island were among those lamenting the proposal to cut funding in half for Community Development Block Grant Program and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program .
GAY RIGHTS: Maryland could become the sixth state to approve same-sex marriage while Hawaii legalized civil unions, giving couples - same-sex or heterosexual - the same legal status as those in a traditional marriage. Moving the opposite direction is Indiana , where the state House passed a constitutional ban on gay marriage, and New Hampshire , where hearings are ongoing in the state House over whether to nullify that state's gay marriage law. Arizona was in court defending its legislature's decision to deny health benefits to the gay partners of state employees.
TAX CREDITS: Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy is proposing an earned income tax credit that would be the first in Connecticut history, says the Hartford Courant . Nationwide, 24 states have similar programs that give credits to the working poor. Tax Credits for Working Families has state-by-state information about EITC, child care and other credits for the poor.
WEATHERIZATION PROBE: The Maine Republican Party wants an investigation to determine whether state lawmakers were singled out to have weatherization work done on their homes by a nonprofit that had received a $1 million federal energy grant, the Bangor Daily News reports. A Democrat there calls the GOP probe a "pathetic" political ploy.