Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Senator Sal DiDomenico and Senator Will Brownsberger have sent a letter to the Massachusetts Congressional delegation urging them to fight against the Trump Administration’s proposed elimination of funding for Legal Services.
Last year, 23,000 low-income and elderly people in Massachusetts got help at Legal Services with foreclosures and evictions, domestic violence, illegal debt collection, veterans’ benefits, homelessness, immigration, and more.
Even with the current resources allocated, the State was not able to meet the demand for legal aid.
“Eliminating funding for Legal Services is short sighted and disproportionately harms those who cannot afford legal counsel including veterans and the elderly,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst). “Massachusetts is not a place where we can make up the loss of federal funds. Justice delayed is justice denied.”
“Legal Services Corporation has helped to ensure equity under the law for low and moderate income individuals throughout the nation for decades,” said Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett), chairman on the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs. “If implemented, these cuts would strip protections for thousands of people in the Commonwealth, from victims of domestic violence to our veterans and senior citizens. With this proposal, the President has created an unprecedented danger for the future of our civil justice system.”
“Cuts to Legal Services will deny those most in need of access to our justice system and will have a profound impact on our state budget. Legal Services funding should be a priority for all us who believe the values of taking care of our most vulnerable residents,” said Senator Will Brownsberger (D-Belmont) Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.
According to the letter, elimination of funding from the Federal government would result in a $5 million decrease in funding from $45 million budget. This 11 percent cut would result in more than 2,500 people losing access to legal aid. The letter asks the members “to speak out, to stand up, and to hold everyone accountable who supports this unconscionable budget proposal.”
President Donald Trump’s full budget proposal will be released in May and Congress will debate funding levels in the coming months.