Center for Disability Rights Supports Governor Cuomo’s Call for Inclusion in New York State
January 3, 2018 – Today, near the close of his 2018 State of the State speech, Governor Cuomo delivered a line that we have longed to hear from a Governor for as long as the Center for Disability Rights has existed: “inclusion is our operating principle, and forging community is the ultimate goal.” We are hopeful that Governor Cuomo is sincere about this, but past experience tells us to be cautious. In a speech that focused heavily on the idea of protecting social progress, it is notable that the Governor made little mention of the Disability Community.
The Governor’s proposals – many of which were released prior to the speech – were relevant to the Disability Community, though not all of them reflect well on his commitment to inclusion as a guiding principle. A $59 million project for what appears to be segregated housing for people with developmental disabilities seems to go against his commitment to inclusion and forging community.
Other points of concern were seen primarily the in lack of proposals:
- The absence of any proposals to address the severe shortage of accessible, affordable, integrated housing stock;
- No explicit commitment to accessibility in the many plans for rural and urban development;
- No mention of the crisis in attendant wages that prevent so many of us from getting the attendant care we need to be a part of our communities; and
- No attempt to address the need for a high needs rate cell in Long term Managed Care.
However, there are points in the Governor’s State of the State that we are cautiously optimistic about, including:
- Commitment to paying fair wages, which we hope will include wages for disabled employees currently receiving subminimum wages and competitive wages for community based attendants;
- A call for Early Voting and Same Day Registration, which the Governor does note must be subject to standards of accessibility;
- Reforming the jail and prison system, which will bring an opportunity to review the discriminatory practices of incarcerating disabled people and the injustices disabled prisoners experience within the system; and
- Recognition that homeless New Yorkers with Psychiatric Disabilities need support from the State and from their fellow New Yorkers.
The true tale of this speech and its proposals will only come as details are negotiated in the budget process, but the Center for Disability Rights will be releasing a more in depth analysis of the State of the State by the end of the week. Additionally, we will issue a full analysis of how the Governor’s Budget will impact disabled New Yorkers after it is released.
For more information, please contact Gregg Beratan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-320-7100.