Making the cut

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.”



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17 Comments on “Making the cut”

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  1. People don’t care about human services. But touch their precious military-industrial complex… that’ll get their attention.

  2. Rancid Crabtree says:

    So where should we start cutting? Our Federal Gov’t just gave Egypt $250 million dollars, that will end up with the Muslin Brotherhood. The TSA is buying $50 million in new uniforms. Homeland Security just ordered 1.6 BILLION rounds of ammo. Cuomo just bought $50 million in more unneeded state land. And what gets cut? Not new spending, no! Jobs, services. And people keep electing these clowns.

  3. Paul says:

    I saw a report today where APHIS (Animal Plant Health Inspection Service) asked the administration for advisement on what they can do with their budgets. They were told that they had to make sure that the cuts were made in a way that would be as painful as possible. This is pathetic.

    I hope this is just right wing propaganda but it looks pretty sad.

  4. mervel says:

    So NYSARC gets $38,666 per person served per year from the government. It would seem that these families would probably rather just take the $38,000 per year than get these “services”? Maybe not but you know at some point you have to start questioning what we are really getting for these services. They are NOT providing food, clothing or shelter to people with disabilities, it is a wonderful service, but it is also a big employer and we have to at some point ask ourselves what is really going on is this about the clients or really about the jobs? But that is also a legitimate argument, we really need jobs up here and this is going to hurt.

  5. JDM says:

    President Obama’s point is that we can’t spare one cent from our federal government’s spending.

    It plays well to the low information voter.

    It resonates well in the low information media.

    The budget is actually larger than it was last year.

    I’m not sure that message is getting out.

  6. dan says:

    I’ve worked for NFPs in NYS for almost 35 years, much of it in NNY, and mostly with people afflicted with developmental disabilities. I’ve been direct support and upper level mgt. There is a lot of waste, much of it from unfunded mandates, services that do not benefit those served, and stupid regulations. A good example is the reaction to the Wells fire several years ago, that killed several people in a state-run IRA. Staff, who make a lot more than those who do the same job in the privates like NYSARC, made a conscious decision to break smoking rules, resulting in a catastrophe. The State’s reaction? More regulations, that cost a lot of money, don’t improve services, and still can’t protect anyone from those who choose to do the wrong things. Kerry’s Law is another, similiar example. Warm, fuzzy, meaningless regs.

    There is definitely room for improvement.

  7. VBurnett says:

    JDM, Federal budgets are not dissimilar to, say, your local school district budget. You can have a budget that is bigger than last year’s but that can afford to pay for fewer services due to increases in costs – things like fuel and commodities, retirement fund contributions, health insurance premiums, expiring interest forbearances or stepped up repayment schedules.

    Stuff gets more expensive so even if you have a little more money, it actually ends up buying less when you sit down to pay the bills. It’s happening at all levels right now – right from my own family bank account on up to the federal budget.

  8. Rancid Crabtree says:

    At the Federal level sequestration is just a political tool. It’s being used to leverage against the GOP that wants to start slowing the growth of gov’t ad spending. The GOP aren’t a lot different from the Dems but at least they’re trying to slow the growth of our debt and taxes.

    At the State level thinking any real change will occur is a joke. Tax and spend, tax and spend. Smoke and mirrors.

  9. Two Cents says:

    CNN stated avg. congressional salary, $179,000.
    lets start with cuts right there. notice that sequestration specifically excludes their salary.
    they got it together to make sure that perk made it through their legislation

  10. Rancid Crabtree says:

    Congress ALWAYS includes themselves in getting more and paying less. The only people fighting against that tradition are those nut job right wing Tea Party types, and who knows how long they’ll last in the den of iniquity…

  11. dave says:

    I get the instinct to harp on congressional salaries.

    But do we really want 60k a year talent running the country? I don’t.

    And then there is that 27th Amendment that gets in the way of what some people want to do.

  12. Pete Klein says:

    We don’t get what we pay for. The lobbyists get what they pay for.

  13. Rancid Crabtree says:

    I think I know a lot of people making $60K or under that are far more honest, with far more character and with just as much ability as any Congressman you can name Dave. What we want is a Congress not made up of power and money hungry egocentric fools.

    Actually, the very best thing we could do is get Congress out of Washington and back home for most of the year.

  14. Two Cents says:

    salary and talent are mutually exclusive!
    how much did we pay dubya?
    I know the theory some money keeps them honest, if they were broke they’d take things like bribes, perks, tips and stuff to make up for it……. oh wait a minute……

  15. Zeke says:

    No one like Congress but everyone likes their congressmen. Now for the three elephants(SS, Military and medicare/caid) The rooting out of fraud waste and abuse of all three is at an all time high, however it is costing more to root it out than it saves us, sort of like the war on marijuana or the amount we continue to pay to try and fail to keep illegals out of the country. Do we pay people too much money to root out the fraud waste and abuse or are we not finding enough of the abuse? Are we paying State and BP officers too much or are we just not catching enough marijuana traffic? Hmmmmm

  16. Two Cents says:

    in the waste and the abuse hides the funds necessary to grease all the wheels and palms.
    it’s a well organized campaign….

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