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***** ACTION ALERT S.B. 1 ***** Cuts To The State Budget

***** ACTION ALERT S.B. 1 *****

Cuts To The State Budget

The Texas Senate is having a public hearing February 1 – February 3, 2011
on the proposed budget cuts to (HHS) Health & Human Services. They have
proposed a $16 billion CUT over the next two years to the Health & Human
Services agencies and the programs they run.

The community based programs that allow Texans the choice to receive their
long term care services in the community not in an institution are endanger
of being drastically cut. If you don’t Raise your Voice and let the
Legislators know how losing your services will affect you and your family,
then they will make the CUTS!

Read below to see what you can do in the next few days to let the
legislators know:

Here are a few examples of some of the proposed cuts to the Medicaid Waiver
programs:

* $342,683,706 (million) CUT from the (CBA) Community Based Alternatives
Waiver

* $451,866,354 (million) CUT from the (HCA) Home & Community Services Waiver

* $107,869,131 (million) CUT from the (CLASS) Community Living Assistance
Supports & Services Waiver

* $28,078,989 (million) CUT from the Medically Dependent Children’s Programs

* $102,091,552 (million) CUT from the Deaf, Blind, Multiple Disabilities
Programs

How can you make your voice heard:

You can give public testimony at the Capitol in the Capitol Finance Room
E1.036; Tuesday 1st, Wednesday 2nd, & Thursday 3rd starting at 9:00 a.m.
each morning. Parking is available in the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage at
1201 San Jacinto located between Trinity and San Jacinto Streets at 12th and
13th streets. Parking is free for the first two hours and $1.00 for each
half hour thereafter (maximum daily charge: $8.00); accessible parking is
available with accessible routes to the Capitol. (Map of the Capitol area
provide at the bottom) A majority of disability advocacy groups plan to
concentrate their testimony on Thursday, if you can’t attend make your voice
heard through emails, phone calls, or working with others during this
important time. (More information below on how to contact your legislator by
phone or mail)

Tips on giving oral testimony:

The purpose of public hearings is to provide government officials with an
opportunity to learn about issues – the benefits, concerns, needs or
problems. It is also an opportunity for constituents, citizens and advocates
to provide testimony and express opinions.

Important reasons to attended and testify at public hearings:

• Educate & influence legislators
• Educate the public
• Publicize positions, problems & solutions

Do:

• Know the issue and how it affects you and others.
• Prepare! You usually have only 3 minutes to speak. They will stop you even
if you’re not done.
• Begin by identifying yourself, the group you represent, the bill or issue,
and if you are for or against.
• Tell them your story and how you have benefited and that you would much
rather receive your services in the community. (Remember you only have 3
minutes)
• Use personal examples to make your point.
• Be Respectful!
• End by thanking the committee or legislators for the opportunity to
testify

If you give oral testimony and you are asked what to cut say (1) before
anything is cut, use the $9.4 billion Rainy Day Fund and (2) I understand
other issues are important, but I am here to talk about disability issues.

Don’t:

• Don’t be disrespectful! State why you disagree with them & educate them
• Don’t make claims you are not ready to prove
• Don’t start philosophizing, repeating yourself, offering threats, or
criticizes other issues

If you wish to call or send an email to Legislators/staff about the budget:

Contact as many of the members of the Senate Finance Committee listed below,
(especially if one is your senator!) If you”re from their district, say so,
and add, ” I am or a family member is currently receiving community based
services instead of receiving them in an institution. Aging and disability
community services are necessary and promote “aging in place”, community
inclusion, improved quality of life, higher productivity, better health and
wellness, fewer visits to emergency rooms and hospitals, and the ability to
live as independently as possible. I want you to support community based
services a more cost effective way to a balanced approach to balancing the
state budget. Texas needs to preserve vital programs for Texans with
disabilities and their families, use the Rainy Day Fund, and seek out new
revenue”!

If you don’t know which Senator represents you, take a few seconds to find
out at http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/

Tips on calling Legislators & their staff:

Do:

• Prepare your message before you call.
• If you can’t speak with the legislator explain it to the staffer that
answered. They do keep track of each call.
• Be concise & persuasive, a call should only be a few minutes.
• Identify yourself as a constituent or advocate
• Say exactly what you are calling about. Use bill numbers, issues, if you
are for or against.
• Say specifically what you want the legislator to do (to support a bill or
vote against it.
• Thank them for their time.

Don’t:

• Underestimate the power of the staff. They have the ear of the legislator;
give them as much respect as you would a legislator.
• Don”t be rude, criticize, argue or gossip (deliver your message).

***Make sure to take a few minutes & call each Senators office and email if
possible, it will only take a few minutes. The more they hear the message
the better. If it is after hours leave a message each one left is
documented. Even if you plan to testify take the time to call each office
the day before or after. Try to get as many of your family and friends to do
the same, there is NO more important time then in the next four days to get
them the message “NOT TO CUT our community based services, they should
Invest in Community!”***

Call the Senate Finance Committee Members Below:

Sen. Steve Ogden : (512) 463-0105
Sen. Juan Hinojosa: (512) 463-0120
Sen. Bob Deuell: (512) 463-0102
Sen. Robert Duncan: (512) 463-0128
Sen. Kevin Eltife: (512) 463-0101
Sen. Craig Estes: (512) 463-0130
Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr.: (512) 463-0127
Sen. Jane Nelson: (512) 463-0112
Sen. Dan Patrick: (512) 463-0107
Sen. Ken Seliger: (512) 463-0131
Sen. Florence Shapiro: (512) 463-0108
Sen. Royce West: (512) 463-0123
Sen. John Whitmire: (512) 463-0115
Sen. Tommy Williams: (512) 463-010
Sen. Judith Zaffirini: (512) 463-0121

Tips on emailing:

Correspondence is a written record of your views, interest and positions.
Legislators often have their staff attach memos to bills so that they can
see who is supporting/opposing bills they are considering. You can use the
same language in your email as you did on your phone calls. Contact as many
of the members of the Senate Finance Committee listed below, (especially if
one is your senator!) If you”re from their district, say so, and add, ” I
am or a family member is currently receiving community based services
instead of receiving them in an institution. Aging and disability community
services are necessary and promote “aging in place”, community inclusion,
improved quality of life, higher productivity, better health and wellness,
fewer visits to emergency rooms and hospitals, and the ability to live as
independently as possible. I want you to support community based services a
more cost effective way to a balanced approach to balancing the state
budget. Texas needs to preserve vital programs for Texans with disabilities
and their families, use the Rainy Day Fund, and seek out new revenue”!

If you don’t know which Senator represents you, take a few seconds to find
out at http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/

Tips on emailing Legislators & their staff:

Do:

• Introduce yourself in your email and let the legislator know why you are
interested or concerned about the issue. Tell the legislator how the bill
will affect you, your family, your friends, your job/business. Include
specific examples if you can.
• Put in bold at the top the bill # S.B. 1 and that you are against a cuts
only approach to balancing the budget.
• Let the legislator know if you are a constituent.

To email all the committee members at once, copy and paste the following
email addresses into the “to” line of your message:

Make your tag line “Invest in Community Based Services for Texans with
Disabilities”

[email protected]; [email protected];
[email protected]; [email protected];
[email protected]; [email protected];
[email protected]; [email protected];
[email protected]; [email protected];
[email protected]; [email protected];
[email protected] [email protected];
[email protected]

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT CTD/Coalition of Texans with Disabilities @
512-478-3366 on how to get involved and make your VOICE HEARD!

http://www.cotwd.org

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