Senate Budget Released: More Cuts to Autism!

On May 24, the North Carolina Senate released its version of the state budget, which cuts an additional 3% from Health and Human Services programs, including $30 million in cuts to state funded services (IPRS), $51 million more in cuts to Medicaid optional services for adults, $10 million in cuts to non-profits, and $25 million more in cuts to Medicaid provider rates, bringing the total to $71.4 million.

The budget includes proposed cuts to 21 of the 26 “optional” Medicaid services for qualifying adults. Potential “optional services” that may be impacted include funds for Intermediate Care Facilities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ICF-MRs), dental care, optical care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, personal care services, case management, and medication. The NC Department of Health and Human Services would be required to reduce the amount of service, lower payment rates, or eliminate a service altogether to make up for the loss of $51 million in funding. When combined with Medicaid matching funds from the federal government, this means a loss of $200 million dollars in Medicaid funding for “optional” but completely necessary services. Many of these programs have already been cut recently; in the case of Medicaid provider rates, this would bring the total rate cuts to 11-13% over the past three years. While the costs to serve individuals continue to rise, funding available for that care continues to be decreased.

The Senate budget made two additional changes that impact education and tax revenue. The Senate put $61 million into public schools to reduce class sizes over the next 4 years, but eliminated more funds for teachers’ aides and other areas of public education. Eliminating funding for teacher’s aides is in addition to major cuts to early education and child development programs including Smart Start and the More at 4 Program, which helps at-risk children, including those with autism and other developmental problems, start school on pace with other children.

The Senate’s budget reflects reduced revenues from a tax package that allows the penny sales tax to expire and would reduce individual income tax rates by .25% and reduce taxable income for certain small businesses. The cuts to services that are important to the autism and DD community mentioned here could be restored if the state’s current revenue package were to remain in place.

The Senate will vote on its budget next Tuesday, May 31 and Wednesday, June 1. House and Senate Appropriations Committee chairs have been meeting over the past week to see if they can reconcile differences to pass a budget next week that both chambers agree on.

Get Informed!
The Autism Society of North Carolina has compiled a list of cuts relevant to people on the autism spectrum below. For a full list of proposed budget cuts, visit the General Assembly web site and review the articles under the “News and Information” section (left-hand column). The “Money Report” links for the Senate Appropriations Committee is a list of cuts, and the “Bill Text” link includes an overview of the funding as well as the “special provisions” stating how funding is to be used and related policy changes.

Act now to have your voice heard!

These cuts are unacceptable to the Autism community. The loss of IPRS funding means people with Autism Spectrum Disorder who have no other services and supports could lose what little they have. Continuing to cut Medicaid funds, including provider rates, means lower quality of care and less access to services. Children in mainstream classrooms would have less help, and fewer children would get the right start in school. Non-profit providers like the Autism Society of North Carolina would sustain cuts to nearly every aspect of their programming.

Contact your NC State Senator and tell them

  • The cuts are too deep! Support using the House budget figures.
  • Keep the penny sales tax and hold off on tax breaks; if they kept the sales tax, the cuts in the House and Senate budget could be restored.

How to Contact Members of the General Assembly:

  • By phone: All legislative offices can be reached through the General Assembly switchboard by dialing (919) 733-4111.
  • Legislators also have offices in their districts. For Raleigh and home district office contact information for Legislators visit the General Assembly’s “Who Represents Me?” page. Click on “House” or “Senate,” then look for Member Lists. Click on a name to find your legislator’s web page and contact information for their local offices. This is a 3-day holiday weekend, so you may be able to connect with your legislator while they are in their home districts.
  • By e-mail: Legislative e-mail addresses can be located through the “Who Represents Me?” pages.
  • For those without Internet access, local Boards of Elections can be asked for assistance.

Need more help in contacting your legislators? Click to view ASNC’s “How to Contact your Legislator” tip sheet.

Do you have questions about legislative and policy issues? Email Jennifer Mahan, ASNC Director of Government Relations, at jmahan@autismsociety-nc.org or call her at 919-865-5068 or 1-800-442-2762 ext 1116.

The Autism Society of North Carolina can’t advocate without you. Thank You for your continued support of our work.

Budget Cuts :House and Senate

House Budget House Budget Senate Budget Senate Budget
Department Fiscal Year 2011-2012 Fiscal Year 2012-2013 Fiscal Year 2011-2012 Fiscal Year 2012-2013

DHHS Admin

Non-Profit Funding

(5,000,000)

(5,000,000)

(10,000,000)

(10,000,000)

CARELINE
(handles calls
for help, including
Medicaid problems)

(380,478)

(380,478)

same

same

Div Child Development

Smart Start

(37,600,000)

(37,600,000)

same

same

Discontinue transport

(1,001,718)

(1,001,748)

same

same

Div of Public Health

Early Intervention

(3,500,000)

(3,500,000)

(3,118,046)

(3,118,046)

Div of Medical Assistance

Modify Optional and Mandatory Services (total
of several)

(16,508,903)

(22,072,343)

(16,732,335)

(22,295,678)

Eliminate inflationary increases

(62,853,778)

(139,290,860)

(62,853,775)

(130,874,505)

Adjust provider rates

(46,400,000)

(46,500,000)

(71,420,718)

(71,420,718)

Behavioral Health 1915 b/c waiver (includes DD, autism)

(10,500,000)

(52,500,000)

same

same

CCNC savings(implementing more
medical homes)

(90,000,000)

(90,000,000)

(83,071,581)

(90,000,000)

Modify and Eliminate optional Services

0

(51,474,609)

Div of Mental Health, Developmental
Disabilities, Substance Abuse

Eliminate 7 advocacy positions (in state facilities)

(158,045)

(158,045)

same

same

Eliminate Community Funding (IPRS) for  Medicaid recipients, except residential support

(20,000,000)

0

(30,000,000)

(30,000,000)

Swap (LME) fund balance w/ state service funds

(25,000,000)

0

same

same

Reduce Division management flex funds
(emergency fund)

(7,180,807)

(7,180,807)

same

same

Reduce LME mgt funds

(7,234,005)

(7,234,005)

Education

Public Schools Total Cuts

(694,040,243)

(670,358,180)

(696,788,009)

(732,011,651)

LEA adjustment (schools return funds to state, make cuts locally)

(346,914,388)

(410,440,688)

(4,365,359)

(65,292,506)

Eliminate TAs (except K-1)

(258,647,482)

(254,193,602)

(390,519,448)

(395,946,237)

Community Colleges Total enrollment growth funded, but tuition increased and all programs cut

(110,512,354)

(110,512,354)

(120,169,798)

(120,169,798)

University System Total enrollment funded, but 470 mil flex cut to be determined by UNC

(447,561,332)

(447,443,210)

(359,000,000)

(360,000,000)

 

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One Response

  1. Thanks for continuing your fight for Autism.

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