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- Jan. 18, 2017 CSEA President Danny Donohue slams Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2017-18 state budget proposal
ALBANY — “The governor’s proposed budget for the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) shows a reckless disregard for existing clients and the state work force trying to care for them. Governor Cuomo thumbs his nose at the state work force and tells them to do more with less – again. At the same time, the waiting list for services continues to grow, with more than 11,000 families waiting in need of services. Families in need don’t care about a $70 million gondola ride at the state fair. They care about services for their loved ones,” said CSEA President Danny Donohue.
More than 4,300 positions have been lost since 2008, forcing nearly a decade of mandatory overtime, with an all-time high of more than 45 percent of OPWDD employees working overtime.
According to the New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s 2016 New York State Agencies’ Use of Overtime report, between 2007 and 2015, overtime totaled more than $4.8 billion, with 2015 expenditures alone reaching $716 million.
The governor’s 2017-18-budget proposal outlines hundreds more jobs lost in mental health services, exacerbating the problem.
“On top of this breakdown, state mental health services have shifted, along with the blame and cost, placing a burden on local governments – the very same local governments the governor is trying to reduce and control. Municipalities have already done whatever is necessary to meet service demands in the face of zero growth budgets, a .68 percent tax cap and an incentivized tax freeze. The idea that New York’s high taxes are due to excess municipal spending is just misleading and not based in reality,” Donohue said.
As options run out, all that is left to cut is vital services such as emergency response or child protective services or consolidating governments, which residents have already indicated they do not want.
“At a time when the governor seems to have an endless flow of dollars to failed economic development programs like START-UP NEW YORK (now renamed the Excelsior Business Program) the legislature shouldn’t be complicit in this reckless budget,” said Donohue.