March 24, 2023
Advocates from Across New York Rally in Albany
Yesterday, hundreds of disability advocates from across New York State, filled the Legislative Office Building for a statewide rally and informational forum calling on Governor Hochul and the state legislature to include the full 8.5% COLA in the final budget and make the inclusion of the COLA automatic year after year. The rally, held by The Arc New York and our New York Disability Advocates (NYDA) partners, was hosted by Senator Mannion and Assemblymember Seawright and attended by elected officials, leadership and staff of provider agencies, self-advocates and families. View the photo gallery from the event here, or watch the live recording.
On Wednesday, Kevin Horrigan, vice president of People Incorporated and the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York, was interviewed on Capital Tonight about the upcoming rally, the 8.5% COLA and the pay disparity between DSPs working at state and non-profit providers. State workers receive an average of $23 an hour, while workers at non-profit groups homes receive $16 an hour for doing the same job.  

Stanfort Perry, CEO of AHRC Nassau spoke to CBS News about the staffing crisis, saying, "We cannot fill these jobs and there are hundreds of people on waiting lists, waiting to serve those who are at home with family members and not receiving the support they need."

As noted last week, both the State Assembly and Senate included an 8.5% Human Services Cost-Of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) in their one-house budget bills. Without the full 8.5% COLA in the final State budget, inflation will negate the progress made with last year's 5.4% COLA, forcing agencies to cut essential services for thousands of New Yorkers with I/DD and their families.

The I/DD community is also asking for the Governor and Legislature to include an automatic COLA increase in each state budget year after year, as this funding is a necessary resource for the care services sector to continue providing services to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers with I/DD.

We a not yet over the finish line and need your help! Please reach out to legislators to thank them and tell them anything less than 8.5% is non-negotiable, and send a message to Governor Hochul that she must adopt the 8.5% COLA in the Enacted Budget. Participate in our updated online campaign now to quickly send both these messages simultaneously with just one click! Additional resources to support your outreach can be found in our budget advocacy toolkit.

The budget is due by April 1 and negotiations are already underway, so time is of the essence!

Week of Budget Advocacy Actions Launching Monday
Fresh on the heels of the capitol rally, The Arc New York and our NYDA partners are pushing into the final stretch by hosting a Social Media Day of Action on Monday, March 27. We will be posting live throughout the day on Twitter and Facebook urging Governor Hochul and the New York legislature to include nothing less than an 8.5% COLA in this year’s final State budget. 
We’re calling on YOU to join us and help us make some noise by sharing, retweeting, and replying to our content and posting stories and messages of your own! 
To participate in our Day of Action and receive fresh updates on our advocacy efforts, be sure to follow @thearcny on Facebook and Twitter, @nydisabilityadv on Twitter and @NYDisability Advocates on Facebook. 

Additionally, check out our Social Media Toolkit for sample posts, downloadable graphics, and other helpful tips on how to use social media to make your voice heard in the weeks leading up to the final budget announcement.
We thank you for your continued support and advocacy on behalf of the I/DD Community and hope that you join us on social media next week to make some noise together! If you have any questions about the Days of Action ahead, please reach out to [email protected] or [email protected].
Next Steps in Budget Negotiations Begin
On Monday, New York’s legislative leaders kicked off what’s expected to be an intense two weeks of state budget negotiations with a public meeting to lay out their priorities on housing, crime, taxes and other issues as talks with Gov. Kathy Hochul intensify.

The meeting of the General Conference Committee, known colloquially as the “mothership,” marks the start of the end phase of budget talks, when legislative leaders start making deals with the governor in order to agree on a spending plan. We will update you as additional information emerges concerning these negotiations. It is important that we do not take off the pressure and continue to engage our legislators and the governor during negotiations.
The Arc New York Sends Memo of Support for DSWE Bill
This week, The Arc New York sent a memorandum of support for S4127 (Mannion)/A5268 (Seawright), which introduces the Direct Support Wage Enhancement (DSWE) as a separate bill outside of the budget. As you are aware, the DSWE was not added to either one-house budget bill. Introducing the legislation keeps the idea alive for discussion and future consideration. We strongly recommend the passage of S4127/A5268, which would provide a crucial investment in the direct support workforce.

The Arc US Launches Campaign Demanding No Cuts to Medicaid
This week, The Arc of the United States launched a campaign focused on preventing cuts to Medicaid by Congress. People with disabilities rely on Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) to live independently in their communities. HCBS help people with disabilities with everyday support, like getting around the community, employment supports, dressing, bathing, taking medication, and much more!

Congress is currently negotiating government funding, and we need to make sure that cuts to Medicaid funding are not on the table. We need more funding for HCBS, not cuts!

There are more than 650,000 people on waiting lists nationwide who are not getting the services they need. Cuts to Medicaid would make it even harder for people with disabilities and their families to access the care they need to thrive.

Instead, Congress must provide MORE FUNDING for HCBS by supporting legislation such as the Better Care Better Jobs Act and the HCBS Access Act. We need Congress to take action NOW!

The Arc New York also has an online campaign to preserve Medicaid funding, based on our 2023 Advocacy Priorities. Add your name here!
Want to do More?
Visit The Arc New York Advocacy Center for more ways to take action, including campaigns to support federal funding, employment opportunities, and our dedicated workforce. You can also find tools and resources to help you be a stronger advocate for New Yorkers with disabilities.

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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