A Message From JOHN C. BRAUER, M.A., President and CEO – Jan 2021

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns,  or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” Abraham Lincoln

Greetings!

On Friday, Governor Newsom announced his 2021-22 state budget proposal. It was generally good news in that his focus is on “urgent needs,” and it looks like the disability community was included in that category! As many of you may recall, the Burns & Associates study which was completed 18+ months ago showed that the disability system continues to be dramatically underfunded, to the tune of $1.4 billion dollars per year.

While the Governor’s budget doesn’t address that issue, we appreciate that we are not scheduled for any cuts at this time, and may see increases in a few areas. Highlights include:

  • $454.6 million ($261.2 million GF) to delay the suspension of the supplemental rate increases from December 2021 to December 2022
  • $55.9 million ($35.8 million GF) to suspend the Uniform Holiday Schedule through December 2022
  • $211.7 million ($150.4 million GF) to address COVID-19
  • Utilization increases for purchase of services (POS) above base funding levels
  • $2 million ($1.4 million GF) for an emergency coordinator for each regional center

The Governor’s proposal would delay the suspension of the supplemental rate increases and implementation of the uniform holiday schedule until December 31, 2022. The suspensions would be eliminated if the Administration determines in 2022 that there is enough GF revenue to support all suspended programs in the following two fiscal years. Other notable program funding subject to suspension on that date include:

  • Proposition 56 program supplemental payments to intermediate care facilities (ICF) for people with developmental disabilities
  • Delayed implementation of a 7% reduction to in-home supportive services (IHSS) hours

The Governor’s proposal continues to provide $15 million in funding for HCBS Transition grants for an additional year, and $29 million for competitive integrated employment (CIE) grants and the paid internship program (PIP).

While the proposed budget doesn’t contain any broad cuts and provides needed funding for the impact of COVID-19 and future emergencies, there are still opportunities for advocacy, and we look forward to reaching out to you in the near future to discuss this further.

In other news, I want to thank those of you who have attended our virtual “Java with John” sessions. These informal virtual gatherings have been well received and it’s been nice to connect up with you again in these strange times. I miss seeing everyone—especially our clients—but for now, this is the next best thing. Our next J with J is scheduled for Friday, February 19th. Look for more information on this in the weeks to come.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t take a minute to share my deep thanks to the amazing New Horizons staff. They’ve been here, in the trenches, through thick and thin, and I’m very proud of the way that they continue to show up to serve our Members. Talk about real life heroes! Brava!