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Disability advocates urge state to suspend cuts, stabilize care system

Thomas O'Neil-White

Care, not cuts is what disability advocates and state lawmakers are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo give as they fight against a proposed $93 million cut to disability services in the 2021 New York State budget.

Seventy-three million dollars was cut in the last fiscal year. Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, who is the committee chair on Peoples with Disabilities said these cuts are unfair across the board.

“It's discrimination against people with special needs,” he said. “Fragile seniors, those with developmental disabilities, those with physical disabilities, mental illness. We're talking here about all human service workers. And the what we're finding from the executive branch is they just don't care. They just don't care.”

Abinanti said the Executive Branch of state government is more concerned with looking fiscally responsible than they are about caring for some the state’s most vulnerable individuals. Advocate groups are pushing the state to use some federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act as a means to stabilize a system they say continues to be underfunded.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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