By Brian Curran
Legislative Director and Counsel
SEIU Local 200United
In 2006, the state Legislature adopted a Cost of Living Adjustment for certain types of state-funded human services that are provided mainly by not-for-profit local agencies. These include agencies that serve people with disabilities, community mental health programs and agencies that serve children and youth. This COLA formula was intended to provide stable funding that takes normal inflation into account. Its adoption reflected the recognition that these are essential services that must continue. (Chapter 57 of the Laws of 2006).
However, in the last four years, state budget language has denied the COLA to these human services agencies. This extended freeze in funding is taking a severe toll on the workers who provide these services and on the people who depend upon them. This cannot continue without doing real harm to real people.
Because this situation has reached a serious stage, we are asking members to contact the governor before the 2014 budget cycle, to ask that the human services COLA be reinstated in 2014. A sample letter is below. Send it to the governor today, or write your own letter telling him how important it is to restore the COLA for agencies that serve people with developmental disabilities, and children and families throughout New York State.