As some of you might have heard through a friend of a friend, the Governor's May Revision of his budget is out. It did not live up to the Cassandaric expectations that I and others had. There is no apparent further cutting to DDS' budget, although there are further reductions due to lower caseload which can mean either (A) we have looked at the data and the trend is lower than expectations or (B) we have some evil plans so subtle that to announce them would be like putting marzipan on a gourmet gateau. It will be worth asking questions about that.
In some ways, I have to say I'm a little disappointed. First and least, because I think the sustainability and stability of funding is more important to what we do than sufficiency, and I'm skeptical that such a large budget gap can be honestly solved without more pain (and fewer 'S's.) Secondly and more importantly, because this system is so reluctant to change, even for improvement's sake that budget crises are usually the minimum requirement to discuss reform. Thirdly, I'm pre-emptively disappointed because the various associations, providers and regional centers are generally much more vigorous in defense of Regional Center cuts, than when the cuts bypass agencies and harm clients directly as is the case in the May Revision. The eye-catching cuts are to CAL-WORKS, which many people with disabilities use, IHSS which many people with disabilities use and Medi-Cal which most people with disabilities use.
So the question is: If we could reform the DDS system to provide more value with less money given a promise* that any savings would go to backfill IHSS, Medi-Cal and/or CALWORKS what would we, as a community, do? If the answer is nothing, we deserve much worse treatment than the administration has so far given us.
*I'm not sure it would be wise to believe that promise, although "why save money for people with disabilities to protect prison guards" is both a realistic and depressingly cynical response.
***6/5 Update: I learned a new blogging trick, by Jim. Comments are currently closed on this topic but open on all others. If you find this outrageous, please contact me or leave a comment in the post above. If anyone wishes to email me and doesn't have my address, it can be obtained by clicking on my name under "Contributors" above and reading down the left hand column of my profile.