Liberty fighting funding reduction

AMSTERDAM – Liberty, the Montgomery County chapter of NYSARC – the largest agency serving people with developmental disabilities and the second largest employer in the county – is urging the Legislature and the Gov. Andrew Cuomo to approve a final budget deal restoring $120 million in state funding to programs and services for people with developmental disabilities.

Liberty provides supports to 615 children and adults with disabilities in day, residential and family-support programs and employs 760 area residents in full- and part-time positions.

A proposed 6 percent across-the-board funding cut to not-for-profit providers throughout the state would mean a $2.3 million budget reduction for Liberty beginning April 1.

The cuts were unveiled Feb. 21 when Cuomo announced his 30-day amendments to his 2013-14 budget proposal for the state.

The 6 percent reduction comes after a $500 million budget gap was created due to a reduction in what the federal government will pay the state to care for the developmentally disabled under Medicaid. Federal officials had concluded the state was being reimbursed too much for some Medicaid costs.

The cut would be in addition to a 6.5 percent funding cut Liberty received in 2011.

“Cuts of this magnitude will have a major impact on Liberty’s programs,” Chief Executive Officer Mike Decker said in a news release. “These funding reductions will force us to rethink how much we spend on goods and services locally, how many people we hire, and the way we carry out our programs.”

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