A bit late to the game, however...
Autism dad Doug Flutie is endorsing Scott Brown for Senate and so am I.
Scott Brown, a tax cutter and one who advocates cuts in government spending, wrote publicly to ask his governor NOT to cut from Autism spending. From last May:
Brown: cut to autism funding hurts the deepest
Posted May 13, 2009 10:06 AM
By: State Senator Scott Brown
Governor Patrick may be under a lot of pressure working out a budget for FY10, as it is one of the worst fiscal periods in decades, but that is no excuse for recklessly cutting funding for some of the most important programs in our State Government.
The Governor is adamantly advocating state spending reductions for the FY10 budget. He is proposing that the state implement a deep local aid cut which will reduce public safety jobs and seriously hinder progress in our communities. He is also proposing cuts to public higher education which will minimize the chances of many to attain a useful and valid education, as well as an even bigger decrease for human services and health care.
The latter is of particular interest. This decrease in human services and health care is going to harm a significant portion of the population. Many of these people I know on a personal level and are constituents of mine who have rallied for support. Those who could possibly take the biggest blow from these difficult cuts are the families of children with autism. Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability and is presently it occurs in 1 and 150 child births, with an annual growth of 10-17%.
Families of children with autism struggle daily. For some, the lives of their other children are put on the back burner because caring for a child with autism is a full-time, consuming responsibility.
According to the ARC of Massachusetts, whose mission statement is to enhance the lives of individuals who have intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, if the Governor’s plan passes 11,000 disabled children and adults will lose support services. In addition, more than 1,000 people will lose their jobs, and 200 children will lose part or all of their services due to the $85 million in cuts or proposed reductions to local aid, autism/human services, and employment services.
Regardless of whatever agenda the Governor claims to have for these individuals and their families, these actions could have dire consequences. Health care is an issue to which I am proactively involved, having co-sponsored over 35 different health care bills directly impacting the Commonwealth and most recently signing on to three pieces of legislation that help and support individuals with autism and their families.
One bill would establish a tax credit for employers who hire individuals on the autism spectrum. The tax credit will be 50% of the employee’s gross wage earned in the first year and would decrease in years following. Another bill would create a special commission to investigate and study services and supports for individuals on the autism spectrum. Lastly, I have co-sponsored a bill to require health insurers in Massachusetts to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder. It includes habilitative or rehabilitative care, pharmacy care, psychiatric care, psychological care, and therapeutic care.
I hope that we can find a way around cutting aid to those that are in need and that Autism Awareness will continue to create attention so that individuals in the future will attain the help and support that they deserve.
State Senator Scott Brown (R-Wrentham) represents Needham as part of the Norfolk, Bristol, and Middlesex District.
Got any friends in Mass? Let them know that Brown supports our kids, even when they cost lots of money!
Our kids need all the support in Washington that they can get.