Most people believe that those with disabilities – whether they are intellectual, developmental, or physical – matter. Unless, that is, you’re Connecticut state Governor Dannel P. Malloy.
I have family members, friends and neighbors who have been diagnosed with various intellectual and developmental disabilities, such as autism, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy, and they, like the thousands of other children in the state of Connecticut, rely on the Department of Developmental Services to receive funding for various services that are completely necessary to their development and care. These services may include day programs, housing, various programs designed specifically for the benefit of children with special needs and the hiring of in-home support to help care for these children and adults at home or out in the community in an effort to improve their abilities to live on their own.
Recently, Governor Malloy announced plans to make cuts to the already dwindling DDS budget. The budget was cut by $30 million in 2012, over $5.5 million in 2014, and the newly proposed cut is estimated at $8.4 million. With these cuts, those with these disabilities will essentially be on their own once they turn 21. They will receive no care, no services, and, should their families be unable to support them, will essentially be screwed. Even convicted felons receive better care and treatment.
It is absolutely appalling that the Governor would make cuts that are detrimental to some of the most vulnerable people in the state, and that he would be willing to compromise the futures of these children when cuts could be made elsewhere (May I suggest not giving Malloy’s appointed employees a holiday raise of up to 12 percent? Or, perhaps, Malloy himself could cut his $150,000/year salary down a bit).
Gov. Malloy does not hesitate to give raises to perfectly able employees, nor does he refrain from giving tax breaks to large corporations, such as the $400 million tax break granted by Malloy to the United Technologies Corporation in 2014. But when it comes to the people in society who are both the most vulnerable and the least able to advocate for themselves, a brutal combination, Malloy does not think twice about denying them the full lives and futures which they so rightly deserve.
Everybody is owed the right to having the same opportunities as their fellow citizens, regardless of their status as able or disabled, and while Malloy’s actions are pathetic, pitiful, and profligate, it is clear that the “P.” in his name stands for one thing in particular: prejudiced.