Yesterday I went to PCC Cascade to catch up with what the Oregon Legislature is saying they might have to cut from various Human Services budgets. The local DD Coalition (I hate the acronym DD... are people too lazy to write or say developmental disabilities?) sent out info. on possible cuts on the 19th, and I wanted to see for myself how this might pan out.
When I arrived, an hour early, there were about 50 or 60 people in line ahead of me. That pretty much killed the idea I had about testifying from my own prospective, so I left. I figured someone else would share my ideas any way. Here's what I planned to say...
Thank you for this opportunity to share my thoughts on what it is I believe we need in our state.
1.) The re-creation of a civil rights enforcement unit in our Department of Justice office. If this is in place, what the legislature says we need to do would very possibly be illegal.
2.) Eliminate the Corporate minimum income tax. Instead of cutting programs that affect the neediest Oregonians, the corporations that operate in our state should pay their fair share.
3.) Get the Oregon Channel back on the air. We deserve REAL transparency within our legislature. Without this resource, a majority of Oregonians have no clue as to what is happening in Salem.
4.) Finally, I want to talk about cuts. Do I believe we should cut programs for developmentally disabled citizens in lieu of cutting services to senior citizens? Of course not. Do I think that cutting Head Start is more tasteful than cutting addiction services? Of course not. There is only one logical conclusion I can come to. NO MORE CUTS. NO MORE CUTS. NO MORE CUTS. And if you follow my 3 previous suggestions, there will be no need for more cuts.
As I was walking back to my truck, I came to a realization... this whole thing was a big publicity stunt! The legislature has no intention of carrying out these ridiculous cuts! According to the DD (yuck!) Coalition, here's what's been proposed as possibility...
1) Infrastructure Reductions
• Eliminate Cost of Living increases to all programs and services
• Eliminate Protective Services and Quality Assurance Compliance staff (Investigates more than 2,000 allegations per year)
• Reductions in SPD, County and Brokerages staff
• Reduce training
2) Service Reductions to Adults with Developmental Disabilities
• Eliminate all employment and community inclusion services for people in residential programs (5,000 people)
• Freeze enrollments in Brokerages (1,400 people /2 brokerages)
• Eliminate Transportation (3,000 people)
• Eliminate access to non crisis comprehensive services (130 people)
• Reduce eligibility to 100 percent of SSI, eliminating all services to individuals over 100 percent (over 1000 people)
• Reduce comprehensive program funding by 10 percent
3) Services to Children with Developmental Disabilities and Families
• Eliminate Personal Care Program
• Eliminate Family Support Program
4) Health Care for Adults with Developmental Disabilities
• Eliminate adult dental services
• Eliminate adult vision services
• Eliminate Medicaid optional services like private duty nursing
• 100 percent of SSI would eliminate access to all health care (more than 1000 people)
5) Housing supports for People with Developmental Disabilities
• Eliminate the Fairview Trust (Served more than 800 people so far)
If the legislature were to make any of these cuts, there would be such a backlash that they could never possibly get re-elected in our state. And, they know it.