Hoosiers got likely their last chance this session to testify on the new, two-year, $36 billion state budget Thursday.
Most of those who testified before a Senate panel on HB 1001 advocated for increased funding for various programs. That included more money for domestic violence programs, a bigger cigarette tax increase and increased funding for food banks.
Emily Weikert Bryant is the executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. She noted food banks haven’t received an increase in the state budget for more than a decade.
“Roughly 900,000 Hoosiers will be at risk of hunger this year – or one in seven Hoosiers who don’t know from where their next meal will come,” Bryant said.
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Matt Brooks is the president and CEO of the Indiana Council of Community Mental Health Centers. He said mental health and addiction services are being cut in the proposed budget.
“We can’t suddenly forget that we do have a mental health crisis in this state," Brooks said. "We do have an addiction crisis in this state. These issues are not going away.”
Senate Republicans will unveil their budget proposal next week.