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A Message from NYSARC Executive Director Steve Kroll

Subject: Governor and Legislature Agree to Include Funds for DSPs

Governor Embraces #bFair2DirectCare

I am thrilled to report that all of our hard work with the #bFair2DirectCare campaign has paid off! Today at our rally at the State Capitol, Governor Cuomo joined us and the five legislative leaders and announced in front of a crowd of more than 500 family members, DSPs, self-advocates, and program leaders that he has embraced #bFair2DirectCare and is including funding to give raises to direct care workers in this year's state budget. In a dramatic gesture to emphasize his commitment to our cause, the Governor raised his right hand and stated "this hand will not sign a budget unless there is $55M in it!" We are confident this funding will be included in the enacted budget because shortly after the Governor's statement, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said to the crowd, "Supporting DSPs is a no brainer." Senate Leader Flanagan went on to add that "DSP funding is the only thing we all agree on."

Details on DSP Wage Increases

Here is a summary of what Governor Cuomo and the Legislature have committed to:

  • DSPs will receive a base salary increase of 3.25% on January 1, 2018 and another increase of 3.25% on April 1, 2018.
  • In year two, clinical staff (300s) will also receive an increase of 3.25% on April 1, 2018.
  • The funds will be new money, not a reallocation of existing monies within OPWDD programs.
  • This funding is separate and on top of minimum wage funding.
  • In addition to OPWDD programs, OMH, and OASAS programs will receive similar treatment.

The Governor's office has estimated that the total value of this 6.5% two-year commitment (including federal share) will be $191 million for DD providers when fully implemented. The total rises to $262 million when OMH and OASAS providers are included. We don't yet have a final number for NYSARC only, but it is at least $40 million per year when fully implemented.

Significant Win for Our Community

Our year-long campaign, guided by our family-based mission and values and solid partnership with all of the major developmental disabilities organizations in NYS, mobilized tremendous grassroots support and resulted in one of the most significant "wins" for people with disabilities and the people who support them.

Let's take a moment today to celebrate our amazing accomplishment. Then we will build on the momentum of this successful advocacy effort to ensure the funding is included in the 2019-20 state budget, and that we continue to recognize and support the incredible work of our DSPs on behalf of people with developmental disabilities and their families.

We are a Grassroots Movement and Will Never Give Up

I am so proud of everyone's vigilance and commitment these last several months. Today is the culmination of more than two dozen events across the state from NYC to the smallest towns, millions of social media interactions, and the persistent advocacy of families, self-advocates, DSPs, and program leaders. We are more than a grassroots effort. We are an organized and motivated grassroots MOVEMENT. As NYS Senator Fred Akshar tweeted, #bFair2DirectCare is "the greatest grassroots effort I've witnessed."

We not only succeeded in getting the funding to provide DSPs a living wage, we created awareness. Now every member of the Legislature knows who we are, what we do, and that we will never give up! I am hoping that we can harness this enthusiasm and energy to accomplish much more.

Congratulations to everyone!

Jefferson Rehabilitation Center

Jefferson Rehabilitation Center
380 Gaffney Drive
Watertown, New York 13601
Phone: (315)788-2730
Fax Number: (315)788-8557

Enhancing The Quality of Life and Maximizing the Potential of Persons with Disabilities