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Ithaca Journal - 3-12-13

Elmira Star Gazette - 3-13-13

 

No Time to Let up on Aid for Disabled

 

Two weeks ago Governor Cuomo proposed balancing the New York State budget on the backs of the most vulnerable in our communities. He proposed a $240 million cut in Medicaid funds to all not-for-profit providers that serve thousands of New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This is a 6% cut for all not-for-profit providers in NYState; Franziska Racker Centers would see a cut of almost $1 million.

 

HOWEVER, exciting things have been happening since Governor Cuomo made that proposal. Along with many other disability service providers across the state, Racker Centers launched an advocacy campaign to let our legislative representatives and the governor know how this drastic cut would affect people with disabilities and their families. In one week staff, individuals with disabilities, their families and friends of the Racker Centers came together to send out thousands of letters to our legislative representatives informing them of what was happening and how it would impact people with disabilities. There was radio and local newspaper coverage, correspondence with local officials, and a visit to Albany. The Racker Centers advocacy campaign and the efforts of other non-profits in New York State made a difference. At the end of that first week both the Senate and Assembly voted to FULLY restore the funding, eliminating the cut. The response from the community was amazing to witness! It’s important to note, we are not out of the woods yet. Governor Cuomo, the Senate and the Assembly will negotiate the final budget during this week, hoping to finalize the budget by March 18th.

 

We didn't have to ask twice for the communities’ support; they turned this advocacy campaign into a grass roots effort. This amazing response is a reflection of the importance of the services for individuals with disabilities and their families and the quality of the work being done by Racker Centers' staff and so many other non profits across NYState. We want to THANK Senators Libous, Nozzolio, O'Mara & Seward, Assemblypersons Finch, Friend, and Lifton, and YOU the members of our community for the support of individuals with disabilities and their families.

 

This is an example of who you are helping. Pam, 59, has Down Syndrome with progressive onset of dementia. She lives in a group home operated by Franziska Racker Centers where she receives help with every aspect of daily living, bathing, eating, dressing, transferring in and out of bed and from one location in the house to another. The quality of her health and life are dependent on staff knowing her well and advocating for her every need. Pam is the kind of New Yorker who will suffer if the proposed $240 million cut takes effect.

 

Please go to the link "We need your help in stopping $1 million in cuts" and leave Governor Cuomo a message. 

 

Christine Schweitzer

Board Vice-President and Parent

Franziska Racker Centers