November 3, 2023

Capitol Rally Less Than Two Weeks Away!

We are fast approaching our first major in person rally of the 2024 legislative session on Wednesday, November 15. We are already expecting a couple hundred of people to converge in the War Room on the second floor of the NYS Capitol to send a message to Governor Kathy Hochul to invest in I/DD, invest in DSPs, invest in equity, invest in family, and invest in you! You can register for the rally here and if you are bringing people, you can note that in the form.

Here are quick references to advocacy resources and calls to action:

If you have not already, or have not today, you can send a letter to your representative with just one-click. Since last Friday we have more than TRIPLED the number of advocates taking action in the campaign. We must continue the fight to ensure that the foundation of supports and services that enable people with I/DD to live a person-centered life is preserved and advanced

The Arc New York on PBS

We have some exciting PBS pieces from New York to highlight and share. Most recently Ellen Gutmaker, Executive Director of The Arc of Onondaga was featured on Connect NY. Ellen appears early in the segment, which then moves to a roundtable of advocates very familiar to The Arc New York. Ellen does a fantastic job giving an overview of supports and services, and the need for investment in our workforce. The episode considers the investment that goes into the workforce, examines the range of services provided around the NYS, and explores the adequacy of the state’s oversight of care.


“Justice for All, a Capitol Press Room podcast series airing throughout 2023, is exploring the history of New York State's treatment of people with I/DD and the evolution of our service system. It included an interview with Erik Geizer, CEO, The Arc of New York, as well as several of our close partners and stakeholders throughout the NYS I/DD movement.


The our issues are gaining momentum, and we are all part of amplifying them! We encourage you to share these stories broadly to help spread the word about our work and our issues.


Emergency Funding for Medicaid HCBS Introduced

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Relief Act of 2023. This bill would increase funding for people with disabilities to live in their communities. A house companion bill is expected soon. The bill would provide two years of additional Medicaid funds to:

  1. improve access to HCBS by increasing direct care worker pay and benefits;
  2. decrease the number of people on waiting lists for HCBS (currently over 650,000); and
  3. pay for assistive technologies, staffing, and other costs that facilitate community integration.

Take action now to support this important bill, which could help address the workforce crisis and decrease waiting lists for HCBS.


Division of Budget Releases Mid-year Financial Plan Update

The NYS Division of Budget (DOB) released its required Mid-year Financial Plan Update this week. Per the DOB, “state finances remain on solid footing, with favorable operating results recorded through the first half of FY 2024. Through September 2023, General Fund receipts, including transfers from other funds, were $2.2 billion higher than estimated in the First Quarterly Update.”


However, despite a General Fund surplus of $3.5 billion in the current fiscal year, outyear budget gaps exist, which are now projected to total $4.3 billion in FY 2025, $9.5 billion in FY 2026 and $7.7 billion in FY 2027. This outlook most likely informed the agency call letter from DOB, instructing state agencies to hold spending flat.


The Governor will propose a FY 2025 Executive Budget by January 16, 2024. We will continue to analyze the data to better inform our advocacy efforts moving into next year.

This and all advocacy updates are archived on The Arc New York website for future reference. Please contact us if you have questions regarding any of this information.
Contact: Philip Aydinian, Director of Governmental Affairs 
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