Two articles in Tuesday’s papers underline how state and federal cuts are hitting home in our world of budgetary restrictions and sequestrations.
First, North Country Now reports that St. Lawrence NYSARC (a not-for-profit organization that supports people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families) will lose $1.3 million in support from the state in this year’s budget. The impact on NYSARC chapters statewide could reach $240 million — half of that from direct state cuts, and the other half from matching funds the organization won’t get due to those cuts.
In the article, NYSARC State Executive Director Mark Brandt described the cuts as “catastrophic.” He says these are in addition to nearly $350 million in cuts to developmental disabilities services over the last three years; he’s calling upon the state to reinstate the funds.
Back in St. Lawrence County, NYSARC’s budget is about $29 million per year; with that money they serve 750 people with developmental disabilities in the county. The organization provides residential units, jobs, rehabilitation and other programs; and Brandt says many services may have to close. More details in the story.
Second, now that sequestration has come into effect, its local impacts are being reckoned. On this front, the Watertown Daily Times reports today that Fort Drum and the union that represents civilian workers there (the American Federation of Government Employees Local 400) are meeting to talk about how they’ll implement the cuts.
Union president Jeffrey W. Zuhlke told the paper he’s expecting between 95 and 98 percent of civilian employees will face furlough days (some exceptions may be made for emergency personnel.) The furloughs will be 22 days, to be taken between late April and the end of September. Zuhlke says they could result in 21 to 30 percent net deductions in pay.
The first day of negotiations was cordial enough, Zuhlke said: “We’re all in the same boat as Congress continues to drill holes in the bottom of it.”