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Group wants new state budget solutions that don’t target people with disabilities

Worried that today’s budget forecast predicting higher state deficits will mean further cuts to programs for Minnesotans with disabilities, The ARC of Minnesota urged state leaders to find a ways to balance the state budget that will protect the most vulnerable.

That means increased state revenues, not just cuts, said Steve Larson, the group’s public policy director.

“We need a balanced approach to solving our recurring fiscal crises that does no harm to people with developmental disabilities and other vulnerable citizens,” Larson said in a statement. “We need to spend state funds more efficiently so we get the maximum use of every dollar. We also need to put increased revenues on the table. Relying on accounting shifts and budget cuts is not a solution and hurts people with disabilities.”

Larson said previous budget cuts this decade have cost more than $500 million in loss of services and increase in service fees for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

The Arc of Minnesota is a nonprofit group advocating for persons with developmental disabilities and their families. It has worked to find ways to save the state money and give people with developmental disabilities and their families more control over the funding they receive for their service — such things as community housing for people with disabilities and services in the family home so parents have more flexibility in meeting the needs of their children.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Janet Dalgleish on 12/02/2009 - 08:08 pm.

    Children, adolescents and adults with severe and persistent mental illnesses often use personal care attendants to assist with daily activities, but for some it provides the stability and consistency that is needed to prevent repeated hospitalizations.

    The last set of unallotments was to try to eliminate mental health care PCA unless the person is at risk of committing violence against oneself or others. The outcome of losing PCA’s for my daughter who has severe schizophrenia and bipolar disorders will likely return to self distructive behaviors and frequent hospitalization if her PCA services are greatly reduced.

    THis will result in more hospitalizations that cost about $10,000 per week. PCA’s cost about $11,000 per year. Without PCA services she would likely spend 4 to 6 weeks a year in the hospital. Do the math, good services are cheaper than poor services. It is also the only morally appropriate answer.

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