CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The group representing senior centers in West Virginia has joined a chorus of groups hoping they get a break in a very tight state budget year.

West Virginia Directors of Senior and Community Services said this week Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s plan to cut senior services by $1.6 million would “handcuff” senior centers. It’s a 7.5 percent cut.

Director Jennifer Gibson said the cuts would mostly impact senior center nutrition programs and transportation.

“We’ll have to call people and say, ‘No, we can’t take you this meal anymore today and no we can’t transport you to the doctor, the pharmacy or the grocery store,'” Gibson said.

There are currently waiting lists for those services.

“We can’t even serve all of the people who need these services and if the recommended budget goes through, then we’re going to have to even cut back on the people that are getting services already,” Gibson said.

The directors group said its services actually save the state money because getting seniors good meals and taking them to the doctor can help cut down on Medicaid costs.

The governor and state lawmakers are working to finalize the budget for next fiscal year. Gov. Tomblin has reduced revenue estimates for next fiscal year by more than $36 million. Gibson said she realizes the current situation but the state’s oldest residents should receive serious consideration.

“We want to make sure our state’s fiscal responsibilities are met but at the same time the legislature really needs to look at what are the priorities,” she said.

The senior centers receive funding through the state Bureau of Senior Services. The agency also had a 7.5 percent budget cut in the current state budget.

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  • Jeanette Hallock

    I am a driver for a Senior Center, every day an elderly or disabled person tells me they don't know what they would do without the Center's transportation. We feed people and deliver meals to those who are not able to do so in their golden years. These dear people have suffered enough through the years and we are the bright spot in most of their lives. I invite any of you to come and look them in the eyes and tell them "To bad, we have to cut funding on the programs you depend on". I'm sure other cuts can be found instead of life support cuts to our seniors.Shame, shame, shame.

  • Gary Wiant sr

    Cant beleave we spend to put people in space & send Millions of Dollars over Seas but we need to cut back on Transportation and food that is Seniors Lifeline to Drs. & Store & with some that Lunch may be the only Hot Meal they Get each Day Come on now we need to Fig. this out so we dont put Our Seniors through this

  • Kim Harrison

    It is shameful that our elected officials have not taken measures in the past to adequately provide funding for senior services that would preserve their dignity and independence. Many make the presumption that the elderly are no longer productive members of society and they should be thankful for whatever morsels are dropped at their feet. Faced with yet even more cuts, we're going to make sure seniors understand that their existence really doesn't matter. Service dollars are that tight and in many cases non-existent to meet the present need. Programs cannot withstand another round of cuts. How many of you can look your parents or grandparents in the eye and tell them they just don't matter?

  • The Gookster

    Wait. What? Gov. ERT made the ill-advised move to expand Medicaid by $165,000,000 annually to support ObamaCare, but he can't find $1,600,000 for senior center services?
    Hmmm, the welfare rats on Medicaid are the 99%ers and the seniors are the 1%ers in this equation. This would suggest that DEMOCRATS favor the welfare rats over the senior citizens since DEMOCRATS are at the control of the State pursestrings. And have been for over 80 years. Seniors, remember that when the DEMOCRATS prostitute themselves at election time and come begging for your vote.

    • FollowtheData

      It must be scary living in your world where everyone is out to get you and live "large" off the government.

      By the way, 1 in 3 West Virginians are rats by your definition, while an additional 400,000 seniors depending on Medicare and Social Security must also be rats. You must really dislike your neighbors and probably some of your own family.

  • John

    Its really a shame that we cannot afford to take care of our seniors, who worked their lives, paid taxes to keep the state going, and are now in need. The senior services is well established in all 55 counties and do a wonderful job, but funding cuts will certainly cut back on the amount of help that can be offered. I guess dog and horse racing tracks are more important than seniors, or at least thats the way it appears. Seniors services was suppose to receive 1/3 of the lottery revenues. It never has probably never will. Too many good ole boy politics are being played here, as its so very evident.

  • Shirley Sydenstricker

    why is it that the low income and seniors are always the one's cut..not the higher income class!

    • ViennaGuy

      Question: what government services do higher-income people get?

  • Voter

    Exactly senior bob. Where does the lottery money go? They are cutting senior benefits and our education system is failing. The state makes hand over fist in lottery revenue and I for one would like to see a break down of where it is actually spent.

  • Senior bob

    I thought we approved the lottery to support senior citizens? I just wished some one would talk about the short fall and what they plan to do to address their underestimation of revenues!

    • ViennaGuy

      Lottery revenues have been declining.