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.

Barbara Crosier

Vice President, Government Relations

Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State

Cohoes

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