Happy New Year’s Budget Season

Listen (29 min)

Due to 12 years of budget cuts, people with developmental disabilities are taking care of aging parents by themselves, dying alone in single occupancy residences (SROs), and facing a host of other problems.  They rallied in six locations across California early this winter to fight for themselves and each other. They rallied to the cry of a “10% increase.”

Dana Hale, Mike Keener, Juanita Chapple, Shira Leeder and Tim Hornbecker attended the Berkeley protest.   Sheela Gunn-Cushman was on hand to talk to them.

For people with developmental disabilities the past 12 years have been a story of disaster.  The state budget to fund the agencies and individuals who care for us was sliced and diced; individual services and programs disappeared, never to return.

This year, with a projected surplus of 1 – 2.5 billion dollars in the California budget, we are determined to recoup some of that funding.  We’re stepping up our lobbying effort with new strategies and determination.

California’s budget season begins in ten days or less.  We say we are fighting for our lives and are tired of it.  We say we aren’t going to take it any more.  We say they’ve cut us to the bone and it is time to rebuild the programs that keep us alive.  

Will it be different this year?  Only if you, individually and collectively, do something about it.

Put your ear to the ground, find out the name of your state senator or representative and call them on the phone.  Get involved with a local group fighting for money for the services that support you.  Go to Sacramento and, if that is too hard, work from home.  The legislators get pressure from the wealthy and able-bodied about their budget priorities.  They need to hear from us too.

If you can’t find a local group, contact Tim Hornbecker at the Arc of Alameda (510) 394-9282, thornbecker@yahoo.com.   You can reach Shira Leeder here, shira@leeder.com.

Co-produced, edited and hosted by Sheela Gunn-Cushman and Adrienne Lauby.

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