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Advocates Again Hope To End Budget Impasse

by | Aug 23, 2017 5:30am
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Posted to: Nonprofits, State Budget, Taxes, State Capitol

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Rep. Matt Lesser shakes hands with individuals protesting the cuts and the lack of a state budget at the end of June

HARTFORD, CT — With nowhere else to go Wednesday, advocates, employees, and clients are expected to descend on the state Capitol again.

It’s the second time in two months that nonprofit organizations that serve the developmentally and intellectually disabled community will be required to take a furlough day. That means their clients won’t be receiving services and their families won’t be able to go to work because they have to stay at home to care for them.

There will be four more scheduled furlough days.

State funding for these nonprofit organizations was cut as part of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s executive order. The recently revised order did restore about $40 million in state funding for the nonprofits, but the ability of some of the organizations to keep their doors open dwindles by the day.

Win Evarts, executive director of the Arc of Connecticut, said he’s worried the current budget impasse will have a “significant impact” on his son’s life.

“Each day that goes by without a budget puts an already chronically underfunded system of community supports at risk and will result in decreased services for individuals with intellectual disability, staff layoffs and eventually, closure of community programs,” Evarts said.

If the budget battle drags on until November, then there’s expected to be a large cut in funding to residential services for this population.

“It is very challenging for us to be dealing with the fact the state depends on us to be providing these services, but we cannot depend on the state to be funding these services,” Barry Simon, president of Oak Hill, said on July 26 — the first furlough day.

He said he wishes every legislator had on their mind what is happening to “our participants.”

“Closing the doors of agencies that provide vital services is today’s pain, but the longer this goes on the more people will be hurt, including those struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues, coping with domestic violence, homelessness, or making a transition from prison into their communities,” Gian-Carl Casa, president and CEO of CT Community Nonprofit Alliance, has said.

SEIU 1199 President David Pickus has said legislators need to hear the stories and “finally move past partisanship and come together and pass a budget.”

He pointed out there are “human costs of a budget stalemate.”

The rally will be held on the north lawn of the state Capitol between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. There’s also a press conference scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the Legislative Office Building for a coalition of groups advocating an increase in tax revenues to help pay for these programs.

House and Senate Democrats are also expected to release their budget proposal Wednesday afternoon.

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