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Stepping Over a Dollar to Pick up a Dime? MA Rally Against Budget Cuts

February 5, 2009

Boston, MA – Bay State legislators deciding where the budget ax should fall are hearing a loud and clear “not any more here” from people with disabilities, their friends, and families. They are rallying today outside the State House. The proposed budget would add to earlier cuts, creating a total of more than $85 million in services for people with disabilities.

Josh Komyerov, director of government affairs for The Arc of Massachusetts, says that budget cut could wipe out systems that keep families together and keep people with disabilities living at home. He points out that home care gets the state the best bang for the buck.

"It allows kids to stay at home and get the education they need in their community. If they don’t have that program anymore, then they end up having to go to residential schools, which end up costing more money."

Komyerov points to other options he argues are better than carving into the budget for people with disabilities. Federal money is expected, and cash will be freed up when a school for people with developmental disabilities is shut down.

"The closure of the Fernald School is going to generate about $13 million in savings. That money can be used, and should be used, to address the needs that are in the community."

Komyerov says more than 11,000 people could lose in-home services under the current proposal, and more than 1,000 people providing those services would lose their jobs. Supporters of the cuts say all state spending has to be lowered to balance the budget.

The rally is 1:00 p.m., Grand Staircase, 2nd Floor, State House.

Deborah Smith/Deb Courson, Public News Service - MA