Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Message from Tom Laing: More bad news in Topeka. What can we do?

Last week we learned that our State's economy was continuing in its decline. Today's news reveals deeper revenue losses .. around 90 million dollars for the current year, and nearly 80 million more per year for the coming two-year budget cycleand there is no other developments being reported from the Statehouse to offer any relief that "all will be well". 
Tom Laing, Executive Director of
InterHab, at a previous Push Day. 

So we and other concerned groups must do our part to make things better. 

How about a Push Day?

We have had all kinds of Push Days -- those when we pushed back against bad ideas, those when we pushed forward with good ideas, those to heighten the public awareness of our mission, those to raise the visibility of our place in the community, and so on. 

This year's Push Day will happen in a completely different dimension of reality than anything we have ever seen. 

To put it simply, our leaders have forgotten how to lead in a responsible manner, and it is time for us and others to call this mess out for what it is, in hopes that legislators will be shaken awake, into the reality they have created, in time to fix it. 

As for us, we need to come together in Topeka to make a difference. 

Here is the dilemma: 

The job of responsible leaders is to identify the important work that government must do, and then raise the  necessary resources to accomplish that necessary work. This government has instead placed its political philosophies at a higher priority .. i. e  cut taxes, force state-sponsored programs to get by with less, and ignore those whose needs are dire and whose hope is fading. 

Here is what is it at stake for the IDD community:

If the State's deep self-inflicted revenue decline is not reversed, then cuts will happen

CDDO administrative cuts may be left in place and perhaps even made worse. 
The modest new waiting list dollars may be taken out of the budget.
State Aid could be shifted to replace current dollars in the waiver budget. and
Medicaid remibursement rates may be cut.

No one in the statehouse is saying this out loud, but Medicaid is a huge part of the budget, and they cannot balance the budget with the current inadequate dollars unless they whack Medicaid. 

Unless you and we and our fellow citizens in  education, health care, mental health, childrens programs, and elsewhere can slow down this landslide of neglectful governance, then we will be trying to recover for many years to come. 

The status in the Statehouse IS that grim; this is NOT a drill; and we  MUST speak out. 

So, will you join with those who have already signed up?  We hope so. 

Thank you for your steadfast efforts over many years to stand up for persons in need, and for the organizations which meet those needs. 

Register to do what you can to make the Push Day 2015 gathering big, and strong, and effective!

And, keep the faith. You can make a difference. 

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