Albany, NY - Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins announced passage of legislation in the Senate today to restore funding to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).
Under the legislation, people with developmental disabilities and their families will continue to receive services which had been threatened by a $90 million cut to the OPWDD in the 2013-2014 State budget. The cut in State funds would have resulted in an additional loss of federal matching funds, translating to a maximum loss of $180 million to service providers.
“The budget cuts to OPWDD would have severely reduced services to people with developmental disabilities and their families. The Senate Democratic Conference and I led the charge against these cuts during the budget process, and even though the cuts passed despite our Conference’s opposition, we continued to fight for full restoration. This is a proud day for those who believe in protecting some of the most vulnerable people in our State,” said Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D/I/WF – 35th District).
The bill, passed by the Senate on Tuesday, codifies a savings plan proposed by a working group created to mitigate the impact of the OPWDD cuts. The shortfall that remains after the savings plan will be made up by funding from the Division of Budget, but only after every effort is made to find additional savings.