Urgent Action Alert: Budget Fight Places Home Services, Disability Ttransit at Risk

Below please find a note from Amber Smock and Adam Ballard of Access Living’s Advocacy Department.

The heat has been turned up on the state budget and we need all hands on deck. The Governor has proposed frightening changes to home services and disability transit if a budget agreement is not reached by July 1. Please read the following and take action at the link below. SHARE WIDELY.

Late last Friday, June 12, Governor Rauner released more information about cuts he plans to make if the impasse over the state budget is not resolved by July 1. These cuts include two of the program issues we at Access Living have been watching most closely through the spring legislative session: Consumer-controlled home and community-based services, and public transportation funding affecting paratransit and the free and reduced-fare programs for mainline mass transit. The relevant portions of the lengthy release are as follows [our notes in italics]:

“...In preparation for the possibility of having no budget on July 1, or a budget with a $4 billion hole, the Administration is initiating its second round of steps to responsibly manage the state’s finances. However, the options available to the Administration remain limited because the Madigan-Cullerton budget includes no reforms…

Department of Healthcare and Family Services
Action Initiated.
Reinstate timely re-determinations of Medicaid eligibility.
Increase eligibility threshold (Determination of Need Score) to a level more consistent with national eligibility levels. [for home and community-based services, including the Home Services Program for younger adults with disabilities and the Community Care Program for seniors]
Department of Transportation
Effective July 1, 2015
Reduce funding for Amtrak.
Suspend state add-on payment to PACE. [for subsidizing ADA paratransit service in Chicago and its suburbs]
Suspend state subsidy for Regional Transportation Authority Reduced Fares grant.”

As you can see, although these are just a few items from a much larger list of cuts, they will be devastating to the disability community. The Governor’s office needs to hear from you that you are concerned about cuts to home services and to transit options for people with disabilities. It is incredibly urgent that you do this ASAP, and ask your families and colleagues to help.

BY PHONE: Call the Governor’s office in Springfield at 217-782-0244 or in Chicago at 312-814-2121. Let them know your name, what town you live in, and that you want the Governor to not change the DON score for home services statewide, and to make sure there is funding for paratransit and reduced fare rides in the Chicago region.

BY EMAIL: Use this link to send a quick and easy email to the Governor’s office.

BY WEBSITE: You can also contact the Governor’s office through their official online contact form at this link .

Please take action NOW and forward to your networks.

Amber Smock and Adam Ballard
Access Living