State Disability groups brace for budget cuts after veto session is canceled

Market day (Source: Pkg)
Market day (Source: Pkg)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Friday was market day for Donovan Chaney and other adults with disabilities, as they sold donated items they had refurbished and painted.

"I sold my teapot and mugs," said Chaney.

Jo Monroe runs the Frances Center for Customized Employment designed to give developmentally disabled adults life lessons connected with earning money and becoming active in the community.

She says they are lessons many will not receive now that funding cuts will force agencies to scale back on transportation.

"Everybody in a small business has to have a support system, even a non disabled person has to have a support system around them so that's what would break down around them with these kinds of cuts is that support system," said Monroe.

The budget cuts to the new opportunities waiver or NOW program, which helps pay for some of these disability services along with cuts to other special health service clinics hit home with a number of state lawmakers who believe the changes will have far reaching consequences.

"The amount of money issued here is slightly more than two million and is a huge impact on people and in a 24 billion dollar budget to say we can't account for these little issues is hard for me to believe," said Senator Dan Claitor.

On Friday Governor Bobby Jindal commended lawmakers for not calling a veto session, choosing rather to focus what he says is a budget geared towards education.

"We're spending 69 million more on education, over half that will go to teachers pay raises so it was a good session it didn't raise taxes, we agree with the legislature not to come back to special session and I want to thank the legislature for canceling the special session," said Jindal.

The Governor's words did little to comfort Monroe, who believes program cuts are a severe blow to these individuals with special needs who now have another challenge to overcome

"For them to be able to begin setting their own barriers- their own personal barriers and to be able to test that barrier, that's a very redeeming thing for them," added Monroe.

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