Matthew Cohen, MSW

Matthew Cohen, MSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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New York State Budget Cuts to OPWDD Proposed for Friday Vote

New York State continues to try and dig its way out of a fiscal mess, in doing so the State Legislature continues to indiscriminately take advantage of vulnerable populations. In February there was a push to have a permanent license exemption passed that would allow non-licensed mental health professionals to work and diagnose in state agencies. This legislation would hurt services rendered to poor populations disproportionately because they make use of county and state facilities at higher rates.

Now, NYS is trying to get a 6 percent cut to the budget for The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.

From the Little Falls Times, an explanation of the devastating effect the cuts would have on The Herkimer Area Resource Center:

For HARC, the second largest employer in Herkimer County, a 6 percent reduction would mean a $1.2 million cut. The agency has already had to deal with $1.1 million in state cuts which impacted the agency’s 2012 budget, according to a news release. “The cuts locally would have a detrimental effect on the agency’s ability to maintain quality services and to employ staff to provide services,” the release stated.

The move is an attempt by NYS to recoup $500 million owed to the Federal government for overpayment to Medicaid. Somehow NYS thinks that the burden of this mismanagement should fall on to the vulnerable shoulders of the disabled population. This is nothing short of a school yard bully tactic of targeting the weak.

New York States houses the wealthiest and most elite people in the country. The wealth and power of Wall Street is located at its center. There might be no other place on the planet where the opulent wealth of one group lay in more of a stark contrast to the poverty and powerlessness of another.  Instead of cutting services to those who need it most, perhaps pressure should be put on Wall Street to give back to the state, and the people who make such wealth possible?

The above is just one example of the effects these cuts could have, but they will have wide spread state impacts. The cuts will be going to vote Friday, so please TAKE ACTION and call the below State Representatives to voice your concerns:

Senator Dean Skelos (SD09)

Temporary President & Majority Coalition LeaderDistrict Office,

Rockville Center (516) 766-8383

Senator Jeffrey Klein (SD34)

Temporary President & IDC Coalition Leader

District Office, Bronx (718) 822-2049

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (SD35)

Democratic Conference Leader

District Office, Yonkers (914) 423-4031

Assemblyman Sheldon Silver (AD65)


District Office, NYC (212) 312-1420


Written By Matthew Cohen
SJS Staff Writer
Content Suggested  By Cassandra  DeFelice

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