The state government revenues are not making expectations because this recovery is stalled. The national pundits are questioning whether this is a double-dip or another recession. Our local economic vitality indicators look abysmal. Obviously expectation of generated tax revenue dropping has prompted the Governor to call on state agencies to present 10 percent reduction packages in advance of the planned special legislative session slated for November 28th. What does this mean for the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), the funding arm of state government responsible for providing services to individuals who have developmental disabilities? Of the current $1.3 billion dollar hole DSHS needs to cut back $573 million and of that ADSA (the division that includes DDD) needs to cut $411 million or about 72% of all DSHS cuts!
How they plan to make the cuts is to change the eligibility criteria so that some people will be ineligible to receive any service. In terms of the number of people this represents 51% of those currently in service or 8,700 people will be denied services of any kind. For vocational programs the number is approximately 4,100 individuals who would no longer receive employment support services. So while 10 percent overall cut seems small it becomes 51 percent of people no longer receiving any support to live and work in our community – which is huge. Yikes, the thought of the impact of the loss of services is staggering. Without living and work supports most of these folks will be on the street. Many of those we support don’t have families to help them so there is no fallback position for them.
What do these cuts mean for other DSHS programs? The information below was supplied by the Washington Budget and Policy Center.
As a starting point, state agencies have submitted proposals to reflect a 10 percent reduction in their budgets. In addition to the cuts in employment programs such a scenario would include:
• Suspension of prescription drug coverage for 500,000 individuals.
• Over 18,000 fewer students enrolled in community and technical colleges.
• Elimination of food assistance for 14,000 low-income legal immigrants.
• Reductions in domestic violence services and assistance for children with high behavior needs, affecting 4,500 children.
• The loss of health care for 25,000 children.
• Elimination or reduction of mental health, long term care, and developmental disability services for more than 80,000 individuals.
• Elimination of support to ensure positive birth outcomes for 54,000 at-risk mothers.
• Elimination of health care coverage for 36,000 working adults.
Maybe now you know why I entitled this Armageddon. The effect of these cuts is the end for so many vulnerable individuals in our state. So please join with us in making sure individuals will not be shut out of services they deserve.
CEO Viewpoint is published by Jim Larson, CEO Morningside
This space is intended to share my thoughts and update the community on issues concerning Morningside and its clients as well sharing inspirational employment stories.
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