I am the president of the board of directors of the Arc of Connecticut, the state’s oldest and largest advocacy group for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). I am writing to applaud the efforts of several key legislative leaders for the part they are playing to preserve funding for people with I/DD despite the State’s increasingly difficult budget situation.
Although a vote was not held on their budget proposal, I want to thank Appropriations Committee co-chairs Rep. Toni Walker, Sen. Cathy Osten and Sen. Paul Formica for listening to the many, many parents and family members who have been advocating for funding for our most vulnerable citizens; and more important, acting on what they heard. Although the budget produced by the Appropriations Committee was not perfect in that it reduces programs that we will fight to fund, the budget does significantly lessen the impact of the cuts on people with I/DD.
The Republican budget effort, led by House Minority Leader Themis Klarides and Senate Republican President Len Fasano, similarly recognized that there is no more fundamental core function of government than protecting vital services and supports that people with disabilities rely upon to live full, contributing lives in their community.
The Arc of Connecticut appreciates the support of all of these leaders in ensuring that people with I/DD are neither forgotten nor victimized, and urges them to continue that support as they move forward with their difficult work.
Tom Fiorentino is President of The Arc Connecticut Board of Directors.