March 15, 2023
Senate and Assembly Include 8.5% COLA!
Yesterday, the NYS Senate and Assembly released their one-house budget proposals. Both one-house budgets included our request of an 8.5% cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) for voluntary providers of supports and services! The one-house proposals represent a significant increase from the 2.5% COLA proposed by Governor Hochul in her Executive Budget. This is a huge victory and it could not have been accomplished without your hard work and diligent advocacy. Thank you!!!

We are disappointed to see that neither house included the Direct Support Wage Enhancement in their budget proposals, despite vocal support from advocates and lawmakers. However, we thank our dedicated advocates and legislative champions who positioned us to negotiate for the full 8.5% COLA with the governor and Division of Budget (DOB). The Assembly and Senate are expected to adopt their respective budget resolutions this week. The Conference Committee process will begin once both the Senate and Assembly pass their individual One-House Budget Resolutions.

New Call to Action!
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 sent both these messages simultaneously with just one click!

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

Register Now for March 23 Rally and Impact Forum!
On March 23 at 11:00 AM, The Arc New York and our New York Disability Advocates partners will host a rally and impact forum in The Well of the NYS Legislative Office Building in Albany. The rally itself will be about an hour. Afterwards, people are invited to stay and talk to legislative staff and other visitors as they come through the space.
Our actions over the next several weeks and our interactions with legislators will be vital to our advocacy success. We developed updated talking points with our NYDA partners to support your meetings and messaging. We will have printouts available on the day of the rally so you are equipped when encountering legislators you might meet with in Albany, their District Offices, and online. We have also developed info sheets and two template Op-eds for you to customize and submit to media outlets in your community.

These materials can be found in our Budget Advocacy Toolkit

More Impact from Days of Action!
Erik Geizer, Chief Executive Officer of The Arc New York was featured in a segment on CBS6, and a New York State of Politics story, calling for investment in our system and our workforce.
New York lawmakers to push for higher pay increase for direct care workers
ICYMI: Last week, groups in Staten Island, Long Island, the Capital District, and Western New York, rallied in solidarity to support our budget requests. Others organized calls to District Offices. Follow the links below for news stories and outcomes from these days of action. Thank you to everyone who has consistently spread our message to state leaders and decision makers! 

Additionally, Hudson Valley 360 published an Op-Ed from Ken Stall, Chief Executive Officer of Coarc (Columbia County Chapter), and Dorothy Wheeler, President of Coarc’s Board of Directors. They drove home the message that the system of supports and services is "woefully underfunded," and, "One in three DSPs are leaving the field every year, from a role where continuity of care is essential." They cited the need for the 8.5% COLA and Direct Support Wage Enhancement to help stem the tide of DSPs leaving the field. 

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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