I am getting a little exhausted trying to have this conversation with person, after person, after person, after person... so I am putting this in writing! Please pass it along!!!
The Governor of New York is proposing massive cuts to programs to the OMRDD (developmental disabilities), and the OMH (mental health)offices in NY. These offices provide the structure and funding for most of the services that people in these populations receive in NY.
These are not cuts to next year's budgets, these are cuts in what they have agreed to pay THIS YEAR (don't try this with your bills at home!)
At the same time, members of the State Assmebly have proposed that Medicaid funding be cut drastically... now. Leaving people with disabilities and the elderly high and dry...
We know the state is in trouble-- at this point everyone heaves a big sigh and says
So... WHY SHOULD WE EVEN BOTHER?????
So, with no further ado, 9 reasons to take a stand on this issue for the elderly and people with disabilities today:
9. There is already a waiting list for services for people with disabilities in NY. These cuts will make that list and that wait longer. This system is currently the ONLY mechanism by which most people can receive services.
8. These cuts will not only mean cuts to operating budgets to agencies across the state. As a consequence of these cuts those agencies will also lose any matching funds they receive from other sources. Millions more will be lost to our state... many agencies may be forced to close.
7. These cuts will increase unemployment in NY--both for caregivers and for people with disabilities who rely on care so that they can work, and for those who require support for employment (this after the president has declared October National Disability Employment Awareness Month--is that ironic... or isn't it?)
6. Increased unemployment and poor care for people who need it will both cause a cascade of other problems for the state... all of which will cost.
5. Political Game 'A'. When a "leader" takes everything away from everybody and then gives back to whoever screams he/she emerges a hero.
It never fails:
Some group that doesn't have a voice won't scream so their programs will get cut which improves the bottom line.
AND the leader is seen giving to the screamers...
It's a win-win for any politician... (NY has seen tons of this, but I do not have time to create links for this--I have letters to write!!)
4. Political Game 'B'. The other most common political game is that no matter how many letters, calls, etc that a legislator's office may be receiving the legislator will tell the world
"I am not hearing from _______________" (insert name of whatever group they don't want to listen to.)They must hear from us and we must make our presentation OBVIOUS to the rest of the world--through media, letters to the editor, and more--in order for our position to be recognized.
3. Political Reality 'A'. If your representation to the legislature is in the minority party, your job is bigger. Not only do your Senators and Assemblyfolks need to hear from you, but so do the Governor himself, as well as any committee chairs and the Minority and Majority leaders...
WE have to make it possible for them to be heard on our behalf.
(Are you listening, Monroe County?)
2. Political Reality 'B'. Our elected officials are politicians. Wheelers and Dealers Extraordinaires! This is their first proposal.
This proposal is the EASIEST (for them.)
It is NOT the best they can do.
Not even close.
If we accept the easiest, we will not get their best.
We deserve their best.
And.... ding, ding, ding....drumroll... fanfare and confetti.....
1. Our loved ones deserve and NEED their best.
(Take another look at the picture at the top!)
It is time to put our state government to work.
Are you psyched? Are you with me??? Are you ready to DO SOMETHING?????
Check back in a bit for a 'what to do' post.... give me a little while, I do not have magic typing fingers! :) But it will be today. The governor is bringing this to the legislature this week--possibly Tuesday.
Picture: NY State Senator Joe Robach at the Flower City Down Syndrome Network Buddy Walk. September 2009.