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March 30, 2013

State budget cuts disability funding, raises school aid

(Continued)

“Only $30 million of the ($120,000) in (earlier) cuts to OPWDD was restored,” Duprey said.

“I voted against that part of the budget, because I was so concerned about the agencies up here. It affects ARC, Citizen’s Advocates (formerly North Star), and it includes the residential homes.”

No plan was yet in place to execute the budget reduction.

“They did put a task force together to determine where the cuts are going to be made and how,” Duprey said.

The funding decrease, said Martin Nephew, executive director of Mountain Lake Services in Port Henry, “will affect services all the way down the line. 

“The Assembly and Senate fought this thing, but to no avail.”

Statewide, the decrease in funding totals 4.5 percent, he said.

That, to Mountain Lake, would be almost $1.8 million, but until more details become available, Nephew said, he wouldn’t know just how much the agency stood to lose.

“I am disappointed the budget does not fully restore funding for programs serving the developmentally disabled,” State Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) said in a statement released earlier this week. 

“This issue is complicated by a settlement reached by the federal government and state related to Medicaid overpayment. It is something my colleagues and I are very concerned about and will work to address in the months ahead to minimize the impact on critically important local programs.”

MINIMUM WAGE

An increase of minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 per hour will be phased in over three years.

But tax credits funded by taxpayers will reimburse some employers for a portion of the wage increase.

Duprey said employers have to pay the wages first and then apply for the tax credit.

“They’re going to get a tax credit if they hire teenagers between ages of 16 and 19, if the teenagers are in school.”

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