Albany, N.Y., June 18—The State Senate today gave final legislative approval to legislation co-sponsored by Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) to restore a $90-million cut in funding to the state Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) that was included in this year’s state budget.
"It's one of the most important actions we’re taking this session. This cut was the biggest downside and disappointment of this year’s state budget,” said O’Mara, who since the adoption of the budget in late March has joined an overwhelming number of his colleagues in the Senate and Assembly to continue urging Cuomo to restore the cut. “But we never gave up on removing this threat to the programs and services that are the lifelines for people with disabilities and their families.”
Under this legislation (S.4777/A.6692-C), which will be signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, if a previously established working group is unable to achieve recommended savings and cost efficiencies without impacting essential programs and services, state funds will be utilized to make up the difference and fully restore funding for OPWDD.
During budget negotiations earlier this year, O’Mara said that both the Senate and Assembly had called for rejecting and fully restoring the governor’s proposed $120 million or six-percent, across-the-board reduction to OPWDD – the lead state agency overseeing state assistance to programs and services for people with developmental disabilities.
The governor, however, would only agree to a $30-million restoration, or just one-quarter of his original cut – leaving the current $90-million gap.