By the Numbers â€“ This program has not had a budget increase in 5 years despite being one of the state 's most efficient programs for persons with disabilities so it is clearly not a drain on the state budget. In 2008, approximately 4,300 families received support with the typical family getting just over $1,500 to help with services such as respite care, specialized equipment, personal assistance, and more. The program truly provides a hand-up and not a handout.
Nevertheless, the Governor with the support of DMRS Deputy Commissioner Norris has decided to use the recession as an excuse to permanently eliminate the program in 2010. This is being proposed despite the fact that:
- Tennessee is receiving nearly $5 billion in federal stimulus funds in order to cushion the blow of the recession, and
- Tennessee is sitting on $750 million in the rainy day fund and $500 million in TennCare reserves.
So Will Your Legislator Vote to End Family Support? The Governor and Deputy Commissioner Norris can only do this if legislators vote to approve his budget, including the elimination of this program late next year. If this program is eliminated, then responsibility for its demise rests on the Governor and the legislators who vote to support the cuts.
What You Can Do – Talk to your legislators about the state budget and its impact on Family Support. Make a call or send an email and specifically ask your legislator to:
- Oppose the governor 's budget if it includes a reduction in state dollars for Family Support.
- Fully Fund Family Support by insisting that the state budget fully fund Family Support with state recurring dollars for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 budget years
I 'm writing to ask you to support full, recurring funding in the state budget for the Family Support Program that has been so critical to Tennessee families since 1992 and oppose any budget that cuts state recurring dollars for the program. With a typical budget of $7.6 million the Family Support Program is only a drop in the bucket for a state with a budget of more than $12.5 billion.
The recession faced by our state and the nation is hurting many, including families touched by a disability. Everyone is tightening their belts and trying to do more with less; however, many persons with disabilities simply cannot afford to cut back any more.
It 's understandable if the Governor and Legislators want to reign in the growth of programs for a brief period; however, the Family Support Program hasn 't had a budget increase in about five years. So it 's simply unacceptable to use the recession as an excuse to permanently eliminate one of the state 's most successful programs for people with disabilities and their families.
The fact is that the state has the money to weather the economic downturn and preserve the Family Support Program. It has received nearly $5 billion in federal stimulus dollars to cushion the blow. On top of that the state has $750 million in its rainy day fund and $500 million in TennCare reserves.
It 's a Rainy Day and Family Support is worth saving, not just today but tomorrow. As a legislator, it is in your power to oppose the elimination of a program that helps so many.
<insert phone number>
To find contact information for your legislator: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/
Filed under: The 2009 Campaign