Human services and health programs could face deep cuts if Gov. Norm Bangerter's budget proposals are passed into law next month by the Legislature, advocates for the poor say.
Among programs feared in danger of the state budgetary ax are general assistance for the disabled; the Emergency Work Program; a state supplement paid to the aged, blind and disabled; and medical programs for the needy."If the governor doesn't change the figures that are now being publicly discussed, then tens of thousands of people will be dropped from health and human services programs," Utah Issues Director Bill Walsh said.
The state's Human Services Coalition, a group of program providers and advocates for the poor, held a news conference Sunday to decry budget proposals for health and human services.
"It's not a very pretty picture. We've seen a lot of reductions in services, cranking down of eligibility for programs to hold services at a level we can afford over the past few years," said Steve Erickson of Utah Issues.
During recent budget hearings, Bangerter said the departments of Human Services and Health will receive $8 million beyond current budgets next year. Human Services would get just $2.8 million because the remainder is needed next year to meet the needs of the poor.