PARC urges supporters to contact representatives
The Putnam ARC announced that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently proposed a $240 million across-the-board budget cut to voluntary programs/agencies providing supports and services to people with developmental disabilities effective April 1, 2013.
Rand Otten, director of Development and Outreach for PARC, reported that this 6 percent cut means a reduction of nearly $1.2 million to their Putnam County-based programs and services for 650 children and adults with developmental disabilities, autism, brain injuries and special needs.
“With agencies on the brink, critical staff stretched to the breaking point, an ocean of new regulations, no trends for three years, and nearly $300 million in cuts over that same period, the implications of this reduction are severe,” she wrote in an email to board members and supporters. “Health and safety risks will be increased. Program quality will be reduced. The ability of people we support to be included members of our community will be undermined.”
Putnam ARC has joined with its statewide association, NYSARC, Inc. and other associations across New York state to fight this budget cut. Family members, self-advocates and volunteers are in a position to influence and inform local legislators about the need for out-of-home residential placement, day services for their adult children, and other quality services for people with developmental disabilities and how these supports will be difficult to provide with these cuts.
Gov. Cuomo is asking the state Legislature to pass his budget by April 1, 2013. PARC encourages supporters to contact local representatives — Sen. Greg Ball, Sen. Terry Gipson, Assemblyman Steve Katz and Assemblywoman Sandra Galef — who will play important roles in whether or not these cuts are enacted.
Otten urges all who can help advocate for services for people with developmental disabilities to contact Sens. Ball and Gipson and Assemblymembers Katz and Galef at their district or Albany offices to request an appointment within the next few weeks to tell their stories and share concerns about what these cuts will mean. If an appointment cannot be scheduled, they can use the following talking points to leave a message or send an email, and messages with staff and emails should be sent as often as possible for the next four weeks.
PARC offers the following tips for making phone calls:
When you call: Introduce yourself and tell the senator or assemblyman that you are a concerned constituent and describe your interest in people with developmental disabilities.
Tell them what these cuts will mean:
• This severe budget cut will have devastating effects for thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers and their families.
• Critical services for people with developmental disabilities cannot be sustained with such a significant loss of funding.
• Direct support professionals and employees across the state could lose their jobs through layoffs, creating critical staff shortages.
• Voluntary agencies will have diminished ability to comply with key health and safety regulations, and health and safety risks will increase for people with developmental disabilities who should be protected.
• There has been an enormous increase in costly regulatory mandates that have exceeded the capabilities of current funding and staff.
• These cuts are in direct conflict with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
• These cuts will threaten the quality of life for more than 120,000 people with developmental disabilities statewide.