Chelsea IrizarryDec 18, 2017, 10:37 pmDec 19, 2017, 4:10 pm

Report: Proposed federal budget cuts would devastate Suffolk seniors, working families

Added concern that cuts will worsen after the tax cut plan takes effect

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SMITHTOWN — The potential impact of the proposed 2018 federal budget cuts has Suffolk County officials worried. They say it could create a problem for essential programs needed by many in the county.

"It would have a devastating impact to Long Islanders if this budget goes through," Suffolk County Presiding Officer Duwayne Gregory said.

On Monday, County officials announced the findings of a report by the county legislature's Welfare to Work Commission. The findings disclose the potential impacts the $5.1 trillion in proposed federal budget cuts would have on county residents and essential local human services programs.

"It would devastate Long Island seniors, working families, the poor, the sick," Duwayne Gregory said.

The three areas of concern covered in the report are food and health security, along with affordable housing.

"Cuts to food stamps and housing would impact my family drastically," said Laurina Heylinger, a client of Wyandanch Homes and Property Development Corp.

Heylinger is a single mother with little family support and is just one of over 100,000 people in Suffolk who depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“The SNAP program helps my family live safe and makes it a little less stressful that my children will have three meals a day,” she said.

It would also mean cuts to health services like Medicaid and even efforts to curb Long Island's opioid crisis.

Gregory says the restructuring of the U.S. tax code could also complicate human services funding. The most recent proposal would add more than $1 trillion to the national debt.

“They are talking already about cutting Medicaid, Medicare, social security. It is the young, the old, the sick, everything. It’s a wide flock of people it will impact,” Gregory said.

Officials are urging residents opposing the proposed budget cuts to call their local representatives.

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