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Major Budget Cuts Proposed by Governor Cuomo Threaten Services

for People with Developmental Disabilities

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo recently proposed a $240 million across-the-board budget cut to voluntary programs providing supports and services to people with developmental disabilities effective April 1, 2013. For Saratoga Bridges, this 6% cut means an annual income reduction of up to $1,400,000.

Our loyal, hardworking staff members are already stretched to the breaking point with an ocean of new regulations and nearly $300 million in cuts over the past 2 years.  The implications of this reduction are severe.  Health and safety risks will be increased while program quality will be reduced. Our ability to support individuals and have them be included as members in the community will be undermined.  
Saratoga Bridges is requesting family members, self-advocates and volunteers are in an ideal position to influence and inform our local legislators about the need for out-of-home residential  placement, day services and many other quality services for people with developmental disabilities.

Governor Cuomo is asking the State legislature to pass his budget by April 1, 2013.  Our local representatives  play important roles in whether or not these cuts are enacted.
You and your family members can help advocate. Contact Senator Kathy Marchione, Senator Hugh T. Farley, Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, Assemblyman John McDonald, Assemblyman Dan Stec and Assemblyman Tony Jordan  at their District or Albany office to tell your story and share your concerns about what these cuts will mean.
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 causing an increase in health and safety risks for people with developmental disabilities.

Tell them:
• There has been an enormous increase in costly regulatory mandates that have exceeded the capabilities of current funding and staff.
• Cuts are in direct conflict with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
• Any additional cuts will threaten the quality of life for more than 120,000 people with developmental disabilities statewide.