The Assembly, the Senate and the Governor have righted a wrong done in the last budget process, Assemblymember Steck said. The cuts made to OPWDD have been a major concern of mine and I am pleased with this result.
Assemblyman Phil Steck (D-Colonie) announced the Assembly passed legislation (A.6692-C), which he co-sponsored, to restore funding that was cut in the last budget cycle to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).
The state budget originally was set to cut $120 million but ended up cutting $90 million from OPWDD, only after restoring $30 million. In the final budget, a workgroup was created to find savings in OPWDD. The goal was to determine whether a restoration of less than $90 million would allow nonprofits to continue to provide the services they needed. Although the savings amount has not yet been finalized, this legislation will make sure that the final amount determined by the workgroup is made available and used to fill the gaps left by the cuts.
We cannot forget our most vulnerable communities when financial times get tough. This funding is essential to making sure people with developmental disabilities get the care they need. Id like to thank Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D-Nassau County), whose son is developmentally disabled, for spearheading these efforts in getting this funding restored. I have been and will continue to be a voice in Albany for individuals and their families served by OPWDD.
The reality of the situation for people with developmental disabilities is that quality services are absolutely essential and necessary for them to maximize the independence and productivity in their lives and in our community. Mary Ann Allen, Executive Director of Wildwood Programs, said. In order for that to be a possibility, the people who provide the quality services need to be able to make a living wage and be able to foster a career providing such crucial care and support. With all the reductions we have already faced this was not the time to further cut these important services. On behalf of all the people served at Wildwood Programs and their families, I would like to thank the legislators who have tirelessly advocated for this bill.