Florida governor makes severe cuts to programs for people with disabilities

Last week, Florida Governor Rick Scott made the order of extreme cuts to the budget for programs that assist tens of thousands of folks with developmental disabilities:

Though a range of state services face cuts from this year’s Legislature, the governor invoked his emergency powers to order the state Agency for Persons with Disabilities to immediately roll back payments to group homes and social workers by 15 percent — an amount providers say could put them out of business and threaten their clients’ safety.

“lt’s not like, ‘Gee, does this mean I have to skip a vacation this year?'” said Amy Van Bergen, executive director of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida. “Potentially, these cuts have life and death implications for these people.”

There are just no words for this kind of bullshit. Bob Wright, a board member and former CEO of Winter Park’s Threshold Center for Autism, says that the cuts would be so severe, it would literally put programs like his center out of business because the staff cuts would violate state laws on staff-to-patient ratios.

Scott says the cuts are necessary because of the budget deficit out of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities’ — interesting considering he’s also calling for $1.5 billion in corporate tax cuts and $1.4 billion in cuts to property tax. Nope, not too heinous.

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