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GOP VP Nominee Vance calls Republicans champions of the middle class; President Biden is isolating with Covid while sources say Schumer privately urged Biden to step aside in the 2024 election: NY bill addresses monopolies, anti-trust loopholes; ACLU of Alabama launches Project MOVE to boost voter turnout.

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Ohio Sen. JD Vance makes an 'America First' VP nomination acceptance speech. Tough national security talk papers over GOP complexities on foreign policy. Sen. Bob Menendez resigns and President Biden catches COVID.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

The Human Cost of the MA Budget Plan

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Monday, January 30, 2012   

BOSTON - Groups which advocate for people with disabilities across the Bay State say the more than $32 billion state budget plan Gov. Deval Patrick released last week could carry a great human cost if enacted.

The budget would slash spending that supports thousands of persons with disabilities and their families. The spending blueprint calls for $5.5 million in cuts to family-support programs alone.

The governor has been sympathetic in the past, says Leo Sarkissian, executive director of The Arc of Massachusetts, but these proposed cuts are devastating.

"Basically, he's historically been a strong Community First proponent, and for families, but this budget takes away funding for about 2,200 families."

Sarkissian says 20,000 families across the state are eligible for assistance from family support. It's cost-effective, he says, because it allows many adults to continue to live with families at home where care is much less expensive than other options.

The Turning 22 program also is targeted for about $3 million in cuts. Sarkissian says that program helps students who will require adult services after high school, with the proposed cuts potentially leaving hundreds scrambling for options.

"These students who have intellectual disabilities ... will be facing a closed door - 500 of them, we think."

Gary Blumenthal, executive director of the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers, says these proposals are troubling but not final at this point.

"As revenues increase, we will ask the governor to reconsider these cuts and consider issuing a supplemental budget."

Blumenthal also sees ample opportunity to change the budget in the House and Senate before it returns to Patrick for his signature.



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