PAR Mail 2018-027 | February 8, 2018
Thank You to 7000 Advocates Who Called Gov Wolf and Made ID/A a Top Priority
Dear Friend

A sincere thank you to all who participated in PAR’s FixTheDSPCrisis  phone campaign by calling Governor Wolf's office about his FY 18/19 budget proposal. We know that our friends are many and that thousands of Pennsylvanians are ready stand up for Intellectual Disability and Autism services.

While we would have loved to have seen the inclusion of a $60 million increase for rates to fund a DSP Wage Increase, we can take heart in knowing that the collective action of our friends and allies resulted in raising awareness for Intellectual Disability and Autism services, bringing an increase of $74 million  for the ODP Budget to needed services for individuals with intellectual disability and autism. 

The budget includes full annualization of all people enrolled for service this current year and in FY 18/19 and:
  • 100 individuals from the emergency waiting list in the Consolidated Waiver;
  • 800 students graduating in 2018 in the Person/Family Directed Support Waiver and the Community Living Waiver;
  • 800 students graduating in 2019 who will enroll in the Person/Family Directed Support Waiver and the Community Living Waiver prior to graduation to assure continuity of support; (updated number from ODP)
  • 40 individuals from the interest list to the Adult Community Autism Program (ACAP);
  • 25 individuals transitioning from State Centers to the community.
PAR, along with the ID/A Coalition, strongly supported these budget additions and will work for their enactment in final FY 18/19 budget.
The Budget Process is a process often compared to a Marathon, and Governor Wolf's budget proposal was only the first step in the FY 18/19 budget process. As the budget now travels to the House and then the Senate, PAR will continue to work with the General Assembly to Fix The DSP Crisis and fund a wage increase for Direct Support Professionals.  We will continue to call upon our members and advocates within the ID/A system to meet with House and Senate Leaders to tell your stories. If you have not already done so, we encourage you to register for PAR's February 22 General Membership Meeting , which is open to all PAR members, where we will discuss next steps for budget advocacy.

The Governor’s Office shared with PAR that “the Governor is committed to helping direct support professionals over the long term, but was not in a position to accommodate the request in this specific proposal." Governor Wolf's support and commitment, along with the House and Senate's support of this issue is critical as we work together to develop a long term plan to Fix The DSP Crisis and establish a Living Wage for DSPs.

At every step of this process, please know that our collective efforts make the difference. Our cause is critical, just and fair. We will continue with your help, support and enthusiasm.  
Thank you to all who are helping on this journey.
Shirley Walker, President/CEO
Gary Blumenthal, Vice President
Jay Layman, PAR Lobbyist