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Call to Action From The Arc New York on #bFair2DirectCare

Right now, your voice is needed for vital DSP wage increases; call your nearest Assembly Democratic member and urge him or her to sign on to Assemblywoman Gunther’s #bFair2DirectCare letter to the Speaker.

What’s happening? As we head into the final lap of state budget negotiations, we’ve initiated a push for the Legislature to include language that expresses its intent to include the additional installments of living wage funding for direct support professionals (DSPs) for the next four state fiscal years. As you may know, both the Assembly’s and Senate’s one-house budget proposal included funding for the second installment of a six-year plan to bring DSPs to a living wage. The funding was also included in the Executive Budget.

But due to the state’s fiscal constraints, neither house has been able to include the #bFair2DirectCare advocacy community’s request for an acceleration of that program. Nonetheless, including this “intent” language would be a big help. This language, which the Senate has advanced, pledged 3.25 percent increases to be funded every April 1 from 2019 through 2022. This is essentially the rest of the living wage program begun with the 2017-18 budget and continued into the coming fiscal year.

Now the task is to convince the Assembly to agree to adopt that language and then advocate for it in final budget negotiations with Governor Cuomo.

This is where you can be a tremendous help. Assembly Mental Health Chair Aileen Gunther – a longtime champion for people with developmental disabilities – has prepared a letter asking Speaker Carl Heastie to advocate for the “intent” language. She’s circulating this letter among her colleagues in the Assembly Democratic majority and asking them to sign on. The more Assembly Democrat signatures he sees on that letter, the more likely the Speaker will be to agree to the request.


What you can do? Please contact your nearest Assembly Democratic member and urge him or her to sign on to Assemblywoman Gunther’s #bFair2DirectCare letter to the Speaker.

This local advocacy will add to the advocacy we are doing at the Capitol and make the message even more powerful. As we have seen throughout our campaign these last two years, legislators are very responsive to constituent communications.

It’s CRITICAL that these calls happen this week, as final decisions on the state budget are being formulated right now.

Tell Democratic Asssemblymembers that getting this language in the final budget is a critical step towards realizing a living wage for DSP who are the foundation of the entire system of services to people with developmental disabilities.  You are all well versed in the challenges, stresses and strains of this critical yet underpaid job.  You are all in a great position to convey this message to your Democratic Assemblymembers.

Looking for what to say? Here are talking points from New York Alliance for Inclusion & Innovation:

  • I’m calling from XXXXX, which is part of the #bFair2DirectCare campaign
  • First, I want to thank you for everything you’ve done to secure a living wage for direct support professionals and the people they support.
  • We’re grateful you followed through on last year’s promise to include the 2nd phase of living wage funding in the 2018-19 state budget. Your support helps make it happen.
  • This year we asked for a spin-up of that funding but we know it’s a tough year with many difficult choices and it couldn’t get done. We’re disappointed but we get it.
  • There is something you can do though that costs no money.
  • We’re asking the Assembly to include language that expresses its intent to include the additional installments of living wage funding for DSPs for the next four state fiscal years. There are no dollars attached and it does not financially encumber the state in any way.
  • But it goes a long way toward telling the DD community that the Legislature is with them.
  • Assembly Mental Health Committee Chair Aileen Gunther is circulating a letter to Speaker Heastie with this request. We’re asking you to sign it.
  • We cannot express enough how much we appreciate your support for our cause. Please take this next step.
  • Will you sign on to Assemblywoman Gunther’s letter?

 

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Copyright 2018 AHRC Nassau.