In New York State, where I live, State funding programs for people with developmental and other disabilities are facing further cutbacks. Due to the greed of many in the financial institutions, health insurance companies, fossil fuel companies and telecommunications companies and our, ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq our unprofitable war on drugs, this type of dire financial picture is being faced by people with disabilities and their providers in every state and in countries around the planet. In addition, there is a double whammy for states who cut Medicaid funding for such services in order to balance their budgets, as they would then lose an equal amount of Federal matching funds.
I am asking that instead of cutting essential services to our most vulnerable citizens, that the states and Federal government find the funding by taxing the windfall profits of the individuals and companies who have created our current financial mess and by curtailing our overseas adventurism.
People with developmental and other significant disabilities often need 24 hour care. The direct care workers who support them usually make only slightly above the minimum wage, which is not a living wage. There is little fat to be cut from these programs and to put the people receiving services out on the street would be a national disgrace. We need to find a way to give our most vulnerable and needy citizens the support that they need to live in dignity in our communities.
Thank you for your support!
Note:The picture posted is of an abandoned group living facility in Letchworth Village, where part of the footage for Geraldo Rivera's expose on Willowbrook was filmed. When Willowbrook was closed we vowed "never again!" Let's provide our most vulnerable citizens and the people who serve them the needed funding so that this never happens again.
However, if there are cuts to such funding sources as Medicaid, which provides most of the funding for such services, there will be an equal cut in Federal matching funds. I ask you to consider the financial plight of the states regarding this and the essential nature of the services the non-profit agencies provide to our most vulnerable citizens.
Please find the needed emergency funding so that the states, such as New York, California, Texas and Michigan don't have to cut funding to services that have little fat to trim. As it is, most of the workers in the non-profits had a wage freeze on their wages the last couple of years - wages that were barely above minimum wage, which is not a living wage in states such as New York and California.
The U.S. had hundreds of billions to bail out the banks, the auto companies and similar institutions and more hundereds of billions for our ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Please find the money so that we workers who work with our most vulnerable citizens can continue to help those who desperately need our continued help.
Andrew J. Heugel