Assembly Democrats, Republicans united in opposition to Cuomo’s cuts to Office for People with Developmental Disabilities
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Contact: David Laska
In case you missed it, Governor Cuomo’s $90 million cut to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities ignited bipartisan anger in the Assembly. As one Democrat said, “Everywhere I turn I see Cuomo cuts – cutting services to people with disabilities. I want to know why.”
Check out the report from Capital Tonight for details:
From Capital Tonight
Bipartisan Anger Over OPWDD Cuts
By Nick ReismanMarch 28, 2013
Republicans and Democrats alike today were incensed over the cuts the $90 million cut to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, vowing the issue would not be put to rest after the budget was approved.
The original $120 million cut to service providers was reduced to $90 million, but lawmakers still remain upset.
The spending reduction was done in order to pay down a $500 million cost to the federal government, part of an ongoing dispute over Medicaid overbilling.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said the cuts should be taken out of administrative overhead. Meanwhile, there is $600 million in new Medicaid funds that could go toward providing services to the developmentally disabled, but that money can not directly make up for the spending cuts.
Still, the cuts come as the budget also includes a $375 million family rebate program and a tax credit that appears to be tailored to bring The Tonight Show back to New York City.
Assemblyman Michael Kearns said he would donate the $350 check he will receive under the rebate program to a non-profit and called on others to do the same.
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, a Republican, said he found the so-called “Jimmy Fallon tax credit” particularly tone deaf.
“Any budget at its core should start with funding those who have the smallest of voices,” he said. “I like Jimmy Fallon, I think he’s funny. But to take $90 million away from developmentally disabled individuals and their families and the people who support them and the staffing for them and to give it to rich and famous from Beverly Hills, that’s no joke.”
And in a floor speech, Assemblyman Tom Abinanti repeatedly referred to the reduction at OPWDD as the “Cuomo cuts.”
In an interview after his speech, Abinanti didn’t back down, but acknowledged he wouldn’t vote against the overall spending package.
“Everywhere I turn I see Cuomo cuts – cutting services to people with disabilities,” he said. “I want to know why.”
He also questioned whether service providers receiving state aid could find administrative overheard to cut.
“We have too many of them working on a very thin margin,” he said.