State restores $90M in programs for disabled residents

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – State Assemblyman Steve Hawley said $90 million that was targeted in cuts to the agency that serves people with disabilities has been restored by the state Legislature. He addressed supporters of The Arc of Orleans County on Monday when quad-amputee John Robinson visited as part of his bike ride across the Erie Canal.

ALBION – For three months State Assemblyman Steve Hawley has been railing against the state’s plan to chop $90 million in funding from programs that support people with disabilities.

The money has been restored due to bipartisan efforts in the state Legislature, Hawley told supporters of The Arc of Orleans on Monday.

Grass-roots advocates from throughout the state pressed the state to restore the funding for the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities.

Hawley and sate legislators said the $90 million in cuts, which was approved in the current state budget, can be made up for through management efficiencies or an influx of cash.

The state’s tax revenue is exceeding projections for the year, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli recently announced. Hawley also said the $90 million came partly at the expense of offering tax incentives to Hollywood movie producers. One of those producers called him to say the industry would film in New York without the incentives.

“Many of the individuals who receive assistance through these programs are among the most vulnerable in our society, and we have a responsibility to provide them with the care and support they need,” Hawley said. “During the budget process, I spoke out against these cuts and supported an amendment which could have restored the funds at that time. I had genuine concerns about the impact it would have on the providers and those receiving care.”

The $90 million funds programs state-wide for disabled residents. The money will allow The Arc of Orleans to “protect existing service levels,” said Kellie Spychalski, agency executive director.

She praised Hawley and state Sen. George Maziarz “for their steadfast work on behalf of the thousands of children and adults with disabilities throughout New York State.”