To the editor:
On behalf of Cerebral Palsy Associations, I have spent the past 26 years advocating for New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).
These are New York’s most vulnerable citizens, among the hardest hit by this pandemic, and at this critical juncture Governor Cuomo has proposed $335 million in cuts to their services and supports.
Last year, disability service providers faced a loss of more than $327 million due to the pandemic. They spent an additional $34 million out-of-pocket to procure personal protective equipment (PPE) and $130 million on hazard pay.
We just can’t take it anymore.
In order for New York to fulfill its constitutional obligation to support people with I/DD, Governor Cuomo must reverse all proposed cuts to services for New Yorkers with I/DD and support the unsung frontline healthcare workers vital to I/DD supports and services with a long-overdue cost of living adjustment.
There is much in the Governor’s budget that is dependent on federal dollars. New York must enact statutory protection to ensure all cuts to the I/DD system are restored if the requested federal funds are received by the state. Currently, there is no such guarantee.
New York has shortchanged people with disabilities for years. A conservative estimate is $5 billion in underfunding and cuts to services over the past decade.
People with disabilities are our neighbors, friends, and family — and most importantly they are New Yorkers who deserve more than what the state is currently providing.
Vice President, Government Relations
Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State